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Team talked pilot back from brink of disaster.

A team of air traffic controllers from the North are in line for a top award after saving a pilot from possible disaster.

The B Watch team at Newcastle Airport, along with Steve Clarehugh, manager of the Eshott Airfield in Northumberland, helped a stricken light aircraft flying from Aberdeen to Manchester when it got into trouble over the North-East last year. The pilot of the Cessna plane experienced engine difficulties at 3,000ft, and radioed Newcastle Airport for help but was unable to get to the airport.

As the light faded, the airport's control watch manager Mike Charlton and senior watch supervisor Keith Rodgers [COR] made contact with Mr Clarehugh and asked for his help.

Though there was no lighting available at Eshott, Mr Clarehugh parked his car at the end of the runway to illuminate the landing strip.

And when he saw the plane break through the clouds at a distance of about five miles away, Mr Clarehugh passed instructions over his mobile phone to the air traffic controllers so they could be relayed to the pilot.

The joint effort ( which also included Newcastle air traffic controllers Allan Davison, Keith Briggs and Andrew Graham ( saw the aircraft land successfully with neither the pilot nor his passenger injured.

Now the Newcastle team and Mr Clarehugh are finalists in the Civil Aviation Authority's General Aviation Safety Awards, due to be presented at the RAF Club on May 1 by Group Captain Roger Gault, master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.

The other finalist is a helicopter instructor from West Sussex who freed a pilot from the wreckage of a crashed aircraft and offered medical support.

The winners will receive the prestigious Tiger Moth Trophy.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 2, 2007
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