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Home : News : News Features
NEWS | Dec. 18, 2019

Missouri Airman returns to flight with one eye

By Michael Crane 139th Airlift Wing

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – U.S. Air Force Maj. Ed Fattmann, a pilot assigned to the 180th Airlift Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, took his first flight as an aircraft commander with one eye Sept. 4.

Fattmann, a resident of Platte City who became a pilot with the 139th Airlift Wing in 2009, lost vision in his right eye July 4, 2012, when a firework misfired and hit his right eye. He was placed in ‘duty not including flying,’ or DNIF status.

During the next five years, he had 32 procedures related to his eye, but ultimately he still had no vision in his right eye.

Although he could no longer fly as an Airman with the Air Force, he could fly as a civilian contractor. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, all he would need is a medical certificate from an FAA-approved flight doctor and a check ride.

He soon conducted a check ride with an FAA pilot to confirm he could perform the necessary tasks of flying: navigation, communication, flying the aircraft, pointing out traffic and landmarks – all the things a two-eyed pilot can do.

For the next few years, he flew various aircraft with civilian companies with government contracts. One of those aircraft was the MC-12W with the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He was flying Air Force aircraft, but as a contractor.

In December 2018, the Air Force granted a waiver for Fattmann to fly again as an Airman with the 139th.

He attended aircraft commander upgrade training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and became requalified to fly the C-130H Hercules aircraft. He completed three months of training in August.

Fattmann took his first flight with his home unit here Labor Day week.­

“It took seven years to get back to military flying,” said Fattmann. “It’s something I didn’t know I would ever get to do again.”