Blind RAF Hawk pilot lands safely thanks to the help of his wingman

An incredible rescue mission recently took place at RAF Leeming during a training sortie in a Hawk jet.

On Jan. 28, 2016 an unnamed Royal Air Force Hawk pilot that lost his sight due to an eye infection while in a routine training sortie, was able to make a safe landing thanks to the help received from another pilot who flew alongside his plane to talk him down.

As reported by, at one point the pilot’s vision was so bad that his commander considered having him to eject into the North Sea since there was little chance he could land safely.

But because of the ejection injuries he could have suffered, the commander decided to dispatch another pilot, Flt. Lt. Paul Durban, an experienced  Tornado driver now assigned to RAF Leeming, who talked him down.

According to a RAF spokesman, the pilot that suffered the partial loss of vision was flanked by Durban and then they flew in formation back to RAF Leeming “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.”

The BAe Hawks belonged to the RAF’s 100 Sqn which uses this aircraft to train forward air controllers and to act as enemy jets in training missions.

Image credit: Crown Copyright



    • I’m halfway wondering if the infection caused inflammation/increased internal pressure in the eyeball, and when he pulled a high-G maneuver it caused the eyeball to rupture….ew.

  1. How could he lose the vision so quickly? I mean, he’s not permanently blind now, isn’t he? I really hope not, that would be terrible :S

    • I overheated once and passed out, after regaining consciousness, on the way back to the car with my arms on two guys’ shoulders, I lost vision for a good 5-10 minutes – my vision went totally dark but thankfully returned. Stuff happens, maybe something got into his eye or he had a pre-existing condition, what I experienced was blood-circulation related

  2. and when I said that ditching a multi million $ (or € or £) didn’t exactly sound like the standard procedure I was the inhumane one willing pilots to die in the crash… even when I politely reminded that ejecting is not exactly a walk in the park and a crash landing (or even successful landing like in this case) could be more desirable in most of the circumstances…

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