Tim Nolan, stationery sales executive from Windsor and passenger on board flight BA16 to Madrid became an unlikely hero yesterday as he successfully wrestled with the controls of the stricken plane after both the Captain and First officer were taken sick during the flight.
Mr. Nolan 44, who is describes himself as a highly nervous passenger, and who hasn’t even passed his car driving test, averted near disaster when he answered a call from the crew for anyone who had flying experience. “I absolutely haven’t,” said Mr. Nolan, “but a friend of mine had posted a quote on Facebook that day from Muhammad Ali; something about the impossible not being a fact, just an opinion. So I thought I’d take a risk, give it a go”.
In a strange twist of fate there was another seasoned BA pilot on board, who made way for Mr. Nolan – recognizing that it was his moment, his hour, his single chance to be the very best he could be. “Experience is nothing compared to that” added the vastly experienced, wise old war veteran BA Captain.
Mr. Nolan single-handedly landed the aircraft in poor weather conditions and a cross-wind, whilst simultaneously assisting the ailing pilots and nursing them during the descent to Madrid. “People are calling me a hero for saving 250 people,” said Mr. Nolan, “but the real hero is my friend who posted that quotation. He chose to ‘share’ those inspirational thoughts, and it gave me the strength. Luckily, I didn’t choose to view the video of a cat playing ping pong that he’d posted earlier, or it all could have ended very badly.”
Nr Nolan now says he is to consider his career options. He has been avidly scouring the internet for other motivational quotes since the incident and realizes that he has been limiting himself by selling paper clips for a living. “I thought about many things since the incident, and I’m thinking big now. There a second-in-command job available in Bristol in the ink cartridge division, and I’m putting my name down. ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’,” he added, quoting Wayne Gretzky.