Monday, March 4

RAF pilot lands jet despite sudden loss of eyesight



An RAF pilot rendered suddenly nearly blind by a suspected eye infection managed to land his training jet after a colleague talked him down while flying nearby.

Air commanders thought about getting the unnamed pilot to eject over the North Sea, but this risked significant ejection injuries and the plane would have been lost, The Daily Telegraph reported.

So Flight Lieutenant Paul Durban, an instructor at RAF Leeming who flew in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sent to help him land.

A source told the Telegraph: They think he had an infection in his eye and he just couldn’t see. The other pilot flew behind him and talked him down. They got him down safely and the plane is okay. Flt Lt Durban is fine too, though I think he was pretty exhausted.

The incident happened on Thursday last week but was only confirmed by the RAF on Sunday.

An RAF spokesman said: “During a routine training sortie … one of our pilots temporarily suffered a partial loss of vision.

“To assist in the recovery of the aircraft to RAF Leeming, the pilot used the radio to request the assistance of a wingman and was promptly joined by another aircraft from the same squadron.

“The impaired pilot flew in formation back to RAF Leeming with the other aircraft where the pilot landed the aircraft uneventfully.

“Flying in formation, and conducting an approach to land as a formation, is a skill practised daily by RAF fast jet pilots.”