Pilot struck blind in flight shepherded to safe landing by RAF | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Pilot struck blind in flight shepherded to safe landing by RAF

A light aircraft pilot who went blind in mid-air after suffering a stroke at 4,500 metres (15,000ft) was shepherded in to land by an RAF aircraft.

Jim O'Neill, 65, was flying his four-seater Cessna over North Yorkshire when he lost his sight and called for help.

O'Neill was flying home to Essex from a holiday in Scotland when he had the stroke, and descended to 1,500ft. With the instrument panel a blur, he failed four times to land at Full Sutton airstrip near York, and was diverted to Linton-on-Ouse.

Wing Commander Paul Gerrard escorted O'Neill in to land in his Tucano T1. Sergeant Richard Eggleton, a radar operator, talked to O'Neill via the radio throughout.

Wing Cdr Andy Hynd, operations commander at Linton-on-Ouse, said: "We routinely practise shepherding, but it's usually for lost aircraft, not blinded pilots, which is what makes this amazing."

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