March 9, 2010:
Earlier this year, a British CH-47 Chinook pilot (flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune) got shot in the forehead, yet continued to fly his helicopter, and got it back to base. The CH-47 was on a casualty evacuation mission, picking up American and Afghan troops wounded in a fight with the Taliban. As the helicopter was taking off, Taliban bullets slammed into the cockpit. One hit flight Lieutenant Fortune in the forehead, penetrating his flight helmet. But the metal device that the night vision gear attaches to on the front of the helmet, slowed the bullet down sufficiently that it did not penetrate his skull. But there was the shock of impact, and lots of blood. Fortune quickly recovered, wiped the blood from his eyes, and kept flying. That was more difficult because another bullet had taken out the stabilization system. Flying just got more difficult. But Fortune manually kept the aircraft stable and get it back to Camp Bastion, where he and his passengers received medical treatment.
This was the first time that a pilot had been hit while his aircraft was in the air. Flight lieutenant Fortune was aptly named, and lucky. If the bullet had hit a little lower, he would be dead.