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After emergency landing at Hartsfield-Jackson, air traffic controllers who helped get medal

Five Atlanta air traffic controllers who skillfully assisted a pilot of a small plane that had to make an emergency landing at the world's busiest airport will accept a medal of safety award Wednesday evening.

On Feb. 14, 2016, pilot Cathy Lewan was flying a single-engine Cessna 172S to take aerial photos about 10 miles southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Her plane’s throttle malfunctioned, and she contacted the Atlanta terminal radar approach control facility in Peachtree City.

Keith Tyus, an traffic manager who is also a flight instructor, helped Lewan with an emergency landing procedure.

Lewan asked air traffic controller Mason Braddock before making the emergency landing: “Can I ask you one more favor?... Would you call my husband for me?”

“It’s gonna be fine,” Braddock reassured her.

And it was.

Lewan did a practice approach, then landed safely.

Braddock and Tyus, along with colleagues Patrick Burrows, Nichole Surunis and Clay Sutton, will accept the National Air Traffic Controllers Association medal of safety award Wednesday evening at the union’s conference in Las Vegas.

To read more about Lewan's emergency landing and to hear the pilot's conversation with air traffic control, get the full story on MyAJC.com.

READ: Pilot aided by Atlanta controllers: ‘God gave me that … runway’

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.