From the article:
Another possibility is that the civilian triggered the ejection accidentally perhaps holding onto exactly the wrong part of the aircraft while experiencing the thrill of takeoff.
They may have something there…hmmm…
I like that last comment:
“Or maybe he did it on purpose, thinking this was his one shot in life to shoot himself out of an airplane and he was going to take it.”
That is a definite possibility.
G-force during the ejection is so severe that you wouldn’t remember anything from it. On the other hand your body would. I would pull that handle only as a last resort.
My hunch tells me the guy had to do it accidentally. The seat activating by itself is less likely than this option.
He also got injured pretty badly it seems.
From what I read on ejection seats, it really comes down to the choice of moderate to potentially severe injury OR death when pulling the handle. This has lead to incidents of pilots waiting too long to eject.
Hopefully the man recovers speedily and to the best possible entirety, save his forever damaged pride if it turns out to have been an accidental ejection, and not a malfunction of the seat.
There have been a couple of posts regarding USN accidental ejections over the ranges at NAS Fallon. I almost put the side window, left seat, of an SH-3 out into the slip stream (and potentially the rotor or tail rotor) when I was a 2/c Midshipman.
The seat slide lever was right next to the jettison window lever. A Midn the previous week had accidentally jettisoned one. (Yes, my only real aircraft stick time was 10 minutes flying an SH-3. Some straight and level and a couple of coordinated turns, without loosing altitude! (just add a little collective when you see the VSI start to dip…it was actually much, much, much easier than flying a sim helicopter)
Other than Gus Grissom in Liberty Bell 7 (i.e. “The hatch just blew”) I don’t think I’ve heard stories of a seat malfunction. I’m going with accidental.
I’d say that is very true, although from what I have seen, I’d have said probably little to no injury (if ejection takes place within the seat’s operating envelope) to severe injury / death.
More Sea Stories:
More Sea Stories:
During my career I have had direct knowledge of 8 individual naval aviator ejections.
4 x F-14
1 x A-6E
3 x EA-6B
Of these I witnessed first hand the EA-6B ejection (not as exciting as one might think…although it does get your attention). Of the other’s, I saw each of the 4 x F-14 aircrew after the ejection.
2 of the 4 F-14 aviators had no injuries. One (RIO) had a black eye–possibly his hand flinging up after he released the handle. The other (pilot - different ejection) had a hairline fracture of a leg bone that caused him to use a cane for a while. (In the F-14, the pilot is supposed to wear a set of straps around his calfs that, in the jet, are hooked to a cable assembly which pulled your feet off the rudders and tight to the seat when ejecting. F-14 pilots hated these because they couldn’t use the shin pockets in their flight suits. Some “modified” the straps. This pilot had evidently done so. On the ejection, his legs were not pulled back properly and one thigh bounced off the canopy bow on the way out…ouch.)
All of the EA-6B aviators walked away from it. I am not counting the “road rash” (technically “non-skid rash”) that one of them may have received as his chute drug him down the flight deck…and several burley Aviation Boatswain Mates tackled his @$$…actually a funny sight.
The A-6E pilot suffered fatal injuries in the ejection. The ejection occurred in the Tyrrhenian Sea, son a late afternoon in the winter of 1986-87. The pilot was founding his raft the next morning with severe injuries. From the information I heard, it wasn’t clear if he had dies from his injuries or exposure. The BN–one of my roommates–was never found and likely did not eject in time (no command ejection in an A-6).
There was a low overcast that thad gotten lower during the flight. Some of aviators I debriefed reported it as low as 400 ft AGL and that they had sunk to a couple hundred feet after that broke out underneath.
The evidence suggested that this pilot likely had an excessive sink rate when he got underneath the clouds, saw he wasn’t going to pul up in time, and ejected. His injuries were reportedly typical of a high speed low altitude ejection.
In my career there were also 11 naval aviators (including my roommate) who all died because they did not eject (mostly controlled flight into terrain/sea). That said, given the various circumstances, I doubt the remaining 10 aircrew were even thinking about ejecting.
From my time with naval aviators, I never got the feeling that they were concerned about injury or death from ejecting. For the most part they seemed to accept that it might happen but I sensed that would rather eject soon than later.
A JAS 39 Gripen pilot was accidentally ejected. The theory is that the G-pants inflated and this pulled the handle…
Fear of pants-related ejection actuation is a major reason why I chose not to be a fighter pilot. You know…things do happen down there which are not completely in your control.
True…true…personally I’d be concerned that I’d pull the “wrong handle” if you know what I mean.