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The question Are pilots allowed to let passengers fly the plane? is interesting to read, noting that pilots are permitted to allow passengers to fly.

I recall an Air Crash Investigation episode where the pilot pretended to allow his son to manipulate the controls of an airliner, without realising the autopilot had been disconnected, resulting in an accident.

I'm wondering how commonplace this is? Is this an isolated incident?

On the flip-side, I've heard of at least 3 occasions where passengers have successfully landed planes.

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Are you referring to AFL593? –  fooot Apr 8 '14 at 2:07
@fooot Yep, that's the one! –  Danny Beckett Apr 8 '14 at 2:08
I wonder if this questions would be more appropriately titled "are passengers allowed to fly commercial flights under the direction of the flight crew?" The title, as it stands, is clearly answered by the question itself. –  Jay Carr Apr 8 '14 at 17:22
@DannyBeckett The second link you have is a song? –  Farhan Apr 8 '14 at 18:29
@Farhan The link is to a recent documentary: Mayday! The Passenger Who Landed A Plane –  Danny Beckett Apr 8 '14 at 18:31

3 Answers 3

No passengers have crashed an airplane while the pilot was letting them fly.

In this situation, the PIC crashed the plane because he didn't do his job as the captain and final authority for the safe operation of the airplane.

Letting a passenger fly would most likely be listed as a "contributing factor" by investigators looking into an accident where this happened, but responsibility for the crash lies squarely on the PIC.

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'tis a fine mincing of words, worthy of the most gourmet attorney -- yet it is also correct (in so far as the FAA, NTSB, and Insurance company are concerned) –  voretaq7 Apr 8 '14 at 2:00
This answer is noteworthy, but doesn't actually touch on the question itself. –  Danny Beckett Apr 8 '14 at 2:01
Hey, it answers the question in the title! ;-) –  Lnafziger Apr 8 '14 at 2:07

Please see the transcript of Aeroflot 593

Overview: The pilot allowed his 12 year old and 16 year old children into the cockpit to sit in the pilot's seat of an Airbus A310. The older child's actions disconnected the autopilot. All aboard were killed when the crew was unable to recover from an unusual attitude after the autopilot disconnect.

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This isn't really an answer to the question. AFL593 is the flight which the question was referring to in the first place. –  Bret Copeland Apr 8 '14 at 19:04
Plus: this answer in inaccurate. See my comment to question itself. –  trejder Mar 10 at 8:53

There was a passenger who crashed an light aircraft over Bodensee in Austria. Psychological factors were assumed to be the reason the passenger forced the controls forward crashing the plane into the lake. He and the pilot were killed.

Source: Der Standard (in German)

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