December 30, 2008

Pilot landed plane after going blind

A Scottish pilot who landed his plane blind after suffering a stroke at a height of 15,000 feet said his goal to eventually get back into the cockpit.

Jim O'Neill, 65, landed his four-seat Cessna 182 with the guidance of a Royal Air Force pilot flying next to him after a stroke he suffered in mid-air Oct. 31 left him 90 percent blind, The (Glasgow, Scotland) Daily Record reported Tuesday.

It was terrifying. Suddenly I couldn't see the dials in front of me, O'Neill said. I should not be alive. I owe my life -- and those of dozens of people I could have crash-landed on -- to the RAF.

O'Neill said his sight is slowly returning and he hopes to one day return to flying planes.

My first big objective is to drive and then to fly. It could take two years for the full improvement to come through, he said.