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Flashback: A-10 pilot lands aircraft safely after taking a big hit from a missile

June 14, 2017

On February 6, 1991, skilled pilot Capt. Paul Johnson found himself in a difficult situation while piloting an A-10 Thunderbolt II in the middle of Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait.

Taking hostile fire and in poor visibility conditions, Johnson made the decision to take out an enemy radar site.

Despite the poor conditions, he dove at the target to try to take it out. However, his plane started shaking and Johnson realized that the A-10 was hit by a SAM, also known as a surface-to-air missile.

His wing was torn apart and was barely functioning.

Thanks to the expertly crafted A-10’s manual reversion kicking in, as well as Johnson’s excellent piloting skills, he was able to land the aircraft and come out unscathed from the hit.

Manual reversion is the third option that a pilot can turn to when the first two hydraulic systems fail.

Johnson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as a result.