A terrified pilot had to fight for his life when an elderly passenger grabbed the controls of his plane and cut the engine.
James Chandler was forced to punch Leslie Nixon, 82, in the face, breaking his nose, to regain control.
The 23-year-old, who got his licence just two years ago, then glided the single-engine aircraft to land in a field near Oberon, 110 miles from Sydney.
In an emergency ‘pan-pan’ call to air traffic control, Mr Chandler could be heard shouting: ‘Whoah, whoah, my passenger’s taking the engines.
‘Pan-pan, pan-pan, pan, bravo foxtrot papa, bravo foxtrot papa, my passenger is trying to take over.’
Mr Nixon booked the flight with Sydney charter company Australia By Air, telling staff he needed to ‘sign some papers’ in the town of Cowra.
He and Mr Chandler set off on Monday afternoon – but midway through the flight, Mr Nixon tried to send the light aircraft into a deadly tailspin.
The pair were taken to hospital where Mr Chandler was treated for shock and Mr Nixon his facial injuries. Police praised the pilot for keeping calm under pressure and avoiding ‘a real disaster’.
Officers were waiting to interview Mr Nixon to find out whether he deliberately tried to crash the plane.