A British pilot suffered a stroke and went blind while on a solo flight last week. That didn’t stop him from landing his small Cessna successfully. A military pilot helped talk him down during the landing.
Jim O’Neill, 65, was flying from Scotland to southeastern England when the stroke hit. He was 40 minutes into the flight and more than 5,000 feet in the air. Paul Gerrard, a Royal Air Force Wing Commander, was finishing a training flight in the vicinity when O’Neill made a distress call.
Gerrard found O’Neill’s plane, began flying close to the blinded pilot and radioed directions for him to land. Once on the ground, O’Neill was taken to a hospital where he is beginning to regain his sight. “I was just glad to help a fellow aviator in distress,” Gerrard said.