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‘On a Wing and a Prayer’: The Incredible True Story of a Man Who Took Control of a Plane Mid-Flight, Starring Dennis Quaid


Only Dennis Quaid should be your ally if you ever find yourself in a precarious situation in the air. On a Wing and a Prayer, an upcoming Amazon Prime Video movie based on the true account of a man who took control of a twin-engine plane after the pilot passed away in mid-flight, will star the seasoned actor.

In the movie, Quaid portrays the brave Doug White, who is put in an impossible situation when his pilot has a fatal heart attack mid-flight. Doug takes control of the aircraft despite having never flown before, with his wife and two daughters on board. Although it’s a difficult task, Doug is aware that his family’s lives are in jeopardy.

Starring Heather Graham as Doug’s wife and later co-pilot Terry and Jesse Metcalfe as the pilot helping Doug from the ground, the film is a testament to the power of human courage and resilience. Although stacked against survival, Doug refused to give up.  

What makes this story so incredible is the fact that it is true. The real Doug and Terry White were traveling to Louisiana after their brother’s funeral in Florida in 2009. That’s when the pilot had a fatal heart attack mid-air. With no one else to turn to, Doug piloted a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air 200 and did whatever it took to protect his family. 

This tale serves as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of difficulty. We can choose to give up or fight when everything seems to be working against us. Doug White made the decision to fight, and as a result, he rose to fame.

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Cooperation by People

The film also highlights the importance of communication and collaboration in crisis situations. An air traffic controller who breaks protocol and contacts Cory and Doug, pilots who give him step-by-step advice from his home in Connecticut, reminds him that sometimes breaking the rules is the right way to go.  

On a Wing and a Prayer is a powerful reminder that even in the darkest moments, there is always hope. Dennis Quaid’s portrayal of Doug White is sure to inspire audiences around the world, and the real-life story behind the film is a testament to the power of the human spirit. So if you ever find yourself in a midair crisis, just remember – if Dennis Quaid can’t save you, no one can.

Written by Brian Egeston, known for his work on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, On a Wing and a Prayer is produced by a team of industry veterans, including Roma Downey, Autumn Bailey-Ford, and Karl Horstmann. 

The film is based on the incredible true story of Doug and Terri White, who found themselves in an impossible situation when their pilot suffered a fatal heart attack mid-flight.

The reason behind Egeston’s script creation was his flight instructor’s demonstration of the significance of having communication skills with air traffic control by playing White’s real flight recording. This incident motivated Egeston to contact White with the intention of producing a film based on his story.

The Story of Survival

Downey, a producer known for her work on Touched by an Angel, was immediately drawn to the White family’s tale of survival.

“I’ve always been drawn to stories that deal with ordinary people who find themselves in exceptional situations and overcome the odds,” Downey said in a statement. “It’s a wonderful, uplifting story with a triumphant ending, and a great thrill for all of us to tell.”

On a Wing and a Prayer promises to be a thrilling and uplifting film, reminding audiences of the power of the human spirit in times of crisis. The film premieres on Amazon Prime Video on April 7, and with a team of talented filmmakers and an inspiring true story, it’s sure to be a must-watch for audiences around the world.


Quaid is an American actor popular for his dynamic performances in a wide range of film genres. With a career spanning over four decades, Quaid has established himself as a versatile and accomplished actor, equally adept at dramatic and comedic roles.

Early Life and Career:

He was born on April 9, 1954, in Houston, Texas. He was raised in a family of four siblings and was raised primarily by his mother after his parents divorced. Quaid attended Bellaire High School in Houston and later transferred to Paul W. Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas, where he was involved in drama and played in a band.

Quaid began his acting career in the 1970s with small roles in films like “Crazy Mama” and “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” In 1979, he gained critical acclaim for his performance in “Breaking Away,” a coming-of-age film about four friends from working-class families who dream of becoming professional cyclists. Quaid’s portrayal of the rebellious and charismatic Mike that led him to be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

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Career Highlights:

Throughout the 1980s, Quaid continued to build his career with a string of successful films, including “The Right Stuff” (1983), “Enemy Mine” (1985), and “Innerspace” (1987). In 1989, he received another Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a high school baseball coach in “The Big Easy.”

In the 1990s, Quaid showcased his range as an actor with performances in a variety of films, from the romantic comedy “The Parent Trap” (1998) to the sci-fi thriller “Frequency” (2000). He received critical acclaim and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his portrayal of the troubled husband in “Far from Heaven” (2002).

In recent years, Quaid has continued to work steadily in film and television, including roles in “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), “Footloose” (2011), and the TV series “The Art of More” (2015-2016). He also earned an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of President George W. Bush in the TV movie “The Special Relationship” (2010).

Personal Life:

Quaid has been through four marriages and has a total of three children. His initial marriage was with actress P.J. Soles in 1978 which lasted for two years before they separated. In 1991, he married actress Meg Ryan and the couple had a son, but their marriage ended in 2001. In 2004, Quaid married real estate agent Kimberly Buffington, with whom he has two children. The couple divorced in 2018. Quaid married his current wife, Laura Savoie, in 2020.

Photo: EW

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