If a pilot and co pilot somehow become incapacitated mid-flight, do flight crew actually ask if anybody on board can land the plane?
Answered by: Pierce Townsend,Worldwide Traveller
The cockpit doors are locked at all times during the flight, except for when one of the pilots needs to use the restroom.
The flight attendants make a call to the pilots within a certain time zone to make sure everything is going smooth, and if they need anything. If they have reason to believe the pilots are incapacitated, they will use an emergency code for the cockpit doors. It will trigger an alarm in the cockpit and gives the pilots anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes to respond.
If the crew is alive, they can still move the door into the lock position. If they don’t respond, or are dead, the door will unlock, as they are dead.
This switch is designed to prevent the plane from being hijacked by terrorists, or people meaning to cause harm. If the code is revealed, or the flight attendant says it to [x] suspect, the pilots can move it to the locked position. Unfortunately, this comes with high responsibility and trust. - Germanwings Flight 9525 for more information
Now, you’ve got access to the cockpit. That stressful process all to get into a door 30,000+ feet in the sky.
The cabin crew will start looking for a pilot on board, disguised as a passenger just looking to get a ride back to base or on vacation. Even if they are a single-engine pilot, that will increase chances of survival. If there is not one on board, their next best bet is an aeronautical mechanic.
After all this dilemma, they cannot find someone. That is the second to worst possible outcome. Fortunately, they have seen the pilots in action and talk to the radios. If they do not want to volunteer, a brave passenger will. Hopefully they can find out which button triggers the headset to speak on frequency to Air Traffic Controllers. They will go along the lines of saying both pilots are not responding and they need help guiding the aircraft down.
If [x] person has figured out how to transmit on the frequency, there are a couple of options that could happen.
The airplane will be talked down by ATC, or another pilot in the air.
The person will be taught a miniature lesson on what the autopilot is, the landing will most likely be done by the automatic feature at an airport closest to where the aircraft is and can handle it. AKA: not on a local grass strip.
The aircraft crashes; which we all do not want to happen and would go down in history as another moment of sadness in aviation.
Afterwards if you survive, everyone on board is most likely to be hoarded with CNN news reporters asking what happened from each and every person.