Hero Pilot Lands Troubled Plane Safely

INSIDE EDITION speaks to two passengers who were on the Delta Airlines jet that Captain Jack Conroyd is being lauded for landing safely. The pilot kept cool under pressure, diverted the plane to JFK airport, and brought the plane down in one piece.

The pilot of a stricken jet ordered passengers to brace for impact moments before making an emergency landing at JFK airport in New York.

Now the pilot is being hailed a hero, just like Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in 2009.

The passengers onboard the Delta Airlines jet from Atlanta knew for 30 terrifying minutes that they were in serious trouble. But they could not have been in better hands. In the cockpit was a 55-year-old former Navy pilot with nerves of steel.  

The new American hero is Jack Conroyd of Lake Mary, Florida, located near Orlando.

He was as calm as can be as he informed air traffic controllers one wheel wouldn't come down and he was declaring an emergency.

His final transmission before bringing the plane down was, "Uh – [this] better work."

Every heart-stopping moment of the landing was caught on video by two passengers, Alessandro Albero and Chase Benzenberg, who were returning from an electronics convention in Atlanta.

Albero and Benzenberg showed INSIDE EDITION their video, including amazing sparks that came from the wing hitting the runway. "Those are the sparks, that's the wing hitting. It lit up my whole face and I just kind of kept it rolling!" says Albero.

Benzenberg says, "A million thoughts are going through my mind. Possibly fire, possibly flipping, I tried to get those thoughts out my mind though and just stay calm."

Albero adds, "People were crying, people had their hands in their faces."

When the plane was brought safely to a halt, there was a burst of applause for the hero pilot.

"We saw him for a few brief moments afterwards when we all got off the plane and he thanked us all and we all thanked him. People were hugging him and shaking his hand," says Albero.