Dennis Quaid is a real-life passenger forced to land a plane in On a Wing and a Prayer – EW

By Sara Netzley February 21, 2023 on

If you need a midair miracle, Dennis Quaid’s your guy.

EW has the exclusive first look at On a Wing and a Prayer, the upcoming Amazon Prime Video film about a real-life man who took control of a twin-engine plane after the pilot died mid-flight.

Quaid plays Doug White, with Heather Graham along for the ride as Doug’s wife and eventual co-pilot, Terri. Jesse Metcalfe also stars as the pilot who connects with Doug from the ground to help him safely land the plane at a nearby airstrip.

The real Doug and Terri White were on their way back to Louisiana after his brother’s funeral in Florida in 2009 when their pilot suffered a fatal heart attack mid-air. With the lives of his wife and two daughters on the line, Doug took command of the twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air 200 despite having no experience flying.

The odds were heavily stacked against the Whites’ survival until an air traffic controller broke protocol and put Doug in contact with Cory (Metcalfe), a pilot who offers Doug step-by-step advice from his home in Connecticut.

On a Wing and a Prayer is directed by Sean McNamara, who also helmed Soul Surfer , another true story of survival about teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm to a shark.

The film was written by Brian Egeston ( Tyler Perry’s House of Payne ) and produced by Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel), Autumn Bailey-Ford (Tulsa), and Karl Horstmann (The Case for Christ).

Egeston was inspired to write the script after one of his first flight instructors played White’s actual flight recording to demonstrate the importance of knowing how to communicate with air traffic control.

He then reached out to White the old-fashioned way: “I wrote him a letter and crossed my fingers.”

Downey, too, knew right away that the White family’s tale of survival was extraordinary.

“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 premieres on Prime Video on April 7.

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Film Montage