Cathay Pacific and various authorities are investigating the mysterious “loss of visual acuity” experienced by two long-serving captains on separate flights in different aircraft types in January and February of this year. In the first instance, a 777 skipper with 4,000 hours in that left seat (27,500 hours total) had trouble seeing for about 30 minutes while on the way from Sapporo to Hong Kong. He stayed in his seat and handed off to his FO for the uneventful approach and landing in Hong Kong after getting priority with a Pan Pan.
The more recent incident was somewhat more dramatic and the 25,000-hour recently qualified A350 captain announced he was having trouble breathing and couldn’t see properly. He was given oxygen, and the crew asked for help from a medical professional traveling as a passenger and flew about half the flight at a lower altitude to increase cabin pressure. Both incidents were gleaned from incident reports published Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department and no conclusions have been reached so far.