Call him the American Alexey Bykov.

A few months ago, just before Valentine's Day, Ryan Thompson was showing his girlfriend the Chicago skyline from inside the cockpit of a small aircraft, when the controls suddenly gave out and the plane took a sharp dive toward certain doom.

"At that moment, I genuinely thought something was wrong with the plane, and that we were going to crash," 28-year-old Carlie Kennedy recalled this week in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

But the two were never in any real danger: Their impending demise was all part of a prank Thompson had cooked up so he could propose to Kennedy.

The 31-year-old told his partner to read from an emergency protocol detailing what they should do to stop the plane from hitting the water and killing them both. "I genuinely did believe that we were going to die," Kennedy told ABC News. "I felt like our lives depended on me making it through that checklist."

As she read through the list, she realized it was actually an elaborate proposal leading up to the final bullet point: "will you marry me?" She turned to Thompson, who, in the meantime, had produced a ring from his pocket.

Still in shock, Kennedy accepted.

"I was never angry, not even for a second," she told the Sun-Times.

But, if it's all the same, she'd like her fiance to lay off the pretend plane crashes for a while. "I told him, and my mom told him, no more surprises for now," she said.

[video via ABC News]