A Levitan Optical Stylet with a modified curve was used in the operating theatre for 301 timed tracheal intubations. Jaw lift was provided manually instead of with a direct laryngoscope. All tracheas except one were intubated successfully (99.7%). Mean (SD) intubation times were 23 (24) s. Three patients (1%) suffered minor trauma. The modified Levitan Optical Stylet can be used without direct laryngoscopy as an effective, rapid and relatively atraumatic tool for intubation, even in difficult airways. It may be appropriate as an alternative or primary intubation technique instead of direct laryngoscopy.