Capt. Brian Brown has been with the Cosumnes Fire Department for more than 20 years.
Suddenly, in the snowy mountains of Idaho, Brown was on the other end of an emergency rescue.
The crash knocked out the plane's electronics; but Brown's daughter managed to get a signal on her cell phone.
Heather Brown called 911 and was able to give Owhyee County dispatch the location of their plane, 29 flying minutes west of Mountain Home, Idaho.
Brown, his wife Jayann and adult daughter Heather had left a gravel strip in Rome, Oregon headed to visit another daughter in Mountain Home when the plane crashed near the town of Silver City.
"We're about 29 minutes of travel time, which was showing on my GPS before the crash," Brian Brown told 911.
"Brian, is there a way you can give me GPS coordinates?" dispatch asked.
"No ma'am. My GPS is down. Everything is down in the plane."
Heather Brown told 911, "we have two head injuries and some back injuries."
Between the cell phone and the plane's emergency beacon, emergency crews were able to find the downed plane quickly; but the family had to wait for daylight to be lifted out by an Idaho National Guard helicopter at 1:14 p.m.
"I think his experience helped him put that plane down in a way that they were able to survive," Cosumnes Fire Department Chief Tracey Hansen said.
It may have been a combination of skill and extremely good luck that allowed Brian Brown to joke with his boss within a few hours of crashing in the Idaho mountains.
"He indicated it was odd to be on the other side of circumstances," Hansen said. "To be the person being rescued instead of doing the rescuing."