Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day — especially if you’re a pilot-in-training prepping for a solo flight.
On May 10, a report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) surfaced and confirmed that back in March, a student pilot who “hadn’t slept much” the night before a solo navigation flight to Adelaide, Australia, flew unconscious for 40 minutes, as per The Independent.
About 40 minutes after departing Port Augusta Airport, en route to Parafield Airport, the male aviator – who has not been named – allegedly suffered a headache, and put the aircraft on autopilot.
The student pilot was enrolled at a flight school in the area, which has also not been named, the Independent reports.
According to the outlet, on the day of the flight, the aviator “did not consume any breakfast” before hitting the high skies, only consuming “a bottle of Gatorade, some water and a chocolate bar” before the excursion.
On the ground, air traffic controllers made numerous attempts to contact the pilot, which proved unsuccessful, before contacting another plane flying in the same area, Newsweek reports. When the second aircraft got ahold of the trainee pilot, officials said that the man had regained consciousness.
The second aircraft proceeded to escort the student pilot to Parafield Airport, according to the Independent.
“The pilot advised that the night prior to the flight he had suffered from a restless night of sleep and was recovering from a mild cold,” the ATSB report states. "On the day of the flight, the pilot did not consume any breakfast prior to departing from Parafield to Port Augusta.
Moving forward, in the wake of the report, the flight school announced they would enact new policies to ensure student pilots had enough rest and consumed sufficient meals before flights, according to the ATSB report.