A flight instructor who helped a passenger land a plane after the pilot was taken ill said the man performed a “beautiful landing”.
Roy Murray said he was surprised just how calm the man he knew only as John was as he brought the aircraft down at Humberside Airport, near Grimsby, north Lincolnshire, last night.
It is understood the plane had been en route from Skegness to Sandtoft, near Doncaster, at the time of the emergency.
The man landed the plane in the dark without lights.
The pilot was later pronounced dead.
Mr Murray said he was called in by air traffic controllers after a mayday call from the Cessna 172 light aircraft as it was heading back to its base at Sandtoft airfield at 6.20pm.
He said the novice flyer did four circuits of the airport before landing at 7.30pm.
“He did a beautiful landing,” Mr Murray said.
“I wouldn’t be frightened to fly with him.”
Mr Murray, who has more than 30 years of flying experience, said: “I feel satisfied but sad. It could have been a lot worse.”
Asked how he felt after the landing, he said: “Ecstatic. Very relieved but also sad.”