Emergency Landing Creates Unbreakable Bond
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. A pilot making his way across Western Colorado was forced to make an emergency landing in Grand Junction on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday the pilot met the man who helped bring him to the ground safely.
On the morning of the incident, the two strangers formed an unbreakable bond.
Gene Manzanares, master coordination center officer for TSA in Grand Junction, said, "At 8:01 our customer service line rang and Mr. Cody was on the other end. He gave me his tail number and his aircraft type and told me he was declaring and emergency."
Pilot Raymond Cody said, "Contacted Gene at TSA, it was the only phone number that I had. I had a little anxiety I had to be honest with you."
Mid-flight Cody lost power, and he couldn't get back on the ground by himself.
"The airplane motor wasn't an issue of stopping, it was only the electronics in the airplane. So I had no radio, I had no navigation equipment," said Cody.
He says he was blind in the air, but thanks to the man on the other end of the line, blind with good sight.
"I was the one talking to him directly and the one talking to the tower and to the airport fire and rescue through our radios, so I was doing all three," said Manzanares.
However, an incident like this was a first for the TSA employee.
"I haven't been trained to bring a pilot in but we made it happen," Manzanares said.
"Gene's my hero, how's that? Yeah he is, he was real calm, kept me calm, and I do appreciate it," said Cody.
Cody has some advice for pilots who encounter similar situations, "Call Gene!"
Cody says this incident will not deter him from getting back in the air, and Manzanares says he would gladly fly with Cody any day.