As a boy growing up on Contruum, Lin avidly studied the history of military space combat. His father was the owner of a shipping company, and Lin spent many an hour sitting outside the fence of the military hangar watching starfighters launch into space. He was fascinated by the sheer power they represented, and also idolized the warriors who flew them in his mind. Due to his many hours here, he was able to gain an intuitive sense of flight control at a spaceport. Combined with his compulsion to organize everything he could get his hands on, he soon got a part-time job as an assistant flight controller at the spaceport.
When he reached the legal age to fly, Lin eagerly applied for a permit and began training in simulators. However, he was by far the worst in his training class. During one simulator run, he was rolling his Z-95 in pursuit of a target drone when he collided into the exhaust pipes of his instructor. From then on, he had earned the nickname "Blindman,"as in "Flies like a." From there, Lin went on to post the lowest sim scores of his class, but just barely managed to not wash out.
On the first day of actual starfighter flying, Lieutenant Pash Cracken was on leave from the Imperial Academy and had been invited to give a talk to the trainees. However, an Imperial Intelligence agent had determined the true nature of Lieutenant Cracken's father's loyalties, and decided to take it upon himself to send General Airen Cracken, and the Rebellion, a personal message. Unfortunately, he placed the bomb meant for the younger Cracken in the ship that Lin had been assigned for that exercise. Upon hearing the explosion, the other trainees and flight instructors quickly converged on what had been a Z-95 and a lousy young pilot. Now, however, the starfighter was a wreck and the pilot was blown a good fifteen meters away with horrible physical damage.
Lin spent a good part of the next two weeks bobbing up and down in various bacta tanks, and while his body and face eventually healed, the nerves and tissue of his eyes were irreparably destroyed. Lin's given callsign was now more than a joke. While he was eventually fitted with high-tech visor that fed images directly to his brain, he could only distinguish black and white murky shapes. Needless to say, his not-so-promising career as a pilot was cut short.
While the rest of his class went on to graduate and obtain their piloting licenses, Lin was now learning the frustrations of dealing with a physical disability. Because of the nerve damage, he was unable to be fit with artificial eyes. While the visor enabled him to see and react to objects, he could not see details such as dials on a starfighter console, or more tragically, faces on people. He gradually became withdrawn from his family and friends, dropping out of school, and becoming a recluse.
His parents, worried about his mental health, decided to send him to a professional psych-anaylst. Chartering him a place on a freighter, they sent him off. However, the freighter captain was smuggling spice and soon after takeoff was accosted by a TIE fighter patrol. An extended laser blast caused the communications console to explode in the captain's face, killing him. In a panic, Blindman grabbed the flightstick. With no way to talk to the TIEs, he felt around for the throttle and threw it to full. Then, something strange happened. Although his shattered eyes remained as blank as ever, he could _feel_ the Imperial pilots in his mind and sense their positions. While dodging their fire, he groped for the freighter's cannon control and set it to auto-fire. Within seconds, the TIEs had been reduced to smoking rubble. However, the last starfighter managed to shoot out the freighter's engines before succumbing to a hail of laser fire.
Adrift in space, with a damaged comm and no engines, Lin was in deep trouble. Searching the freighter's holds, though, he managed to find a shipment of some exotic fruit juice blend. When two Corsair Squadron pilots dropped out of hyperspace two weeks later to take nav coordinates, they found a young, scared man in the derelict freighter's hull.
On board the Liberty, the officers conducting his debriefing were completely bewildered by Lin's story. How could a physically blind man possibly pilot a ship -- in combat, no less? It seemed completely absurd. After some pleading, they allowed him to take a piece-of-junk Z-95 out on a training mission with some of the other trainees, if just to satisfy their curiosity. In case he really _was_ blind, they could take control of the fighter by remote control.
Amazingly, the blind pilot did not run into anyone else, and actually ranked in the top third for that mission. Surmising that Lin had some small affinity for the Force that gave him something akin to a pilot's situational awareness, Corsair Squadron accepted him for further training -- and if nothing else, he would make a great bar story.