Report: French Civilian Accidentally Ejected From Fighter Jet During Ride-Along — WTF?!
How does something like this even happen?!
Late last month during a ride-along with the French Air Force, a 64-year-old civilian was accidentally ejected out of the jet just as it was taking off! Weirder still, the French Air Force was forced to temporarily ground all their Rafale fighter jets as they investigated exactly why the man was ejected from the plane.
According to Aerotime News and other outlets reporting on the incident, the event happened in March at Saint-Dizier Air Force Base in northern France. The base is a hub for Rafale-B fighter jets — which are twin seat jets, hence having the opportunity to have a civilian do a ride-along with a pilot in the French Air Force.
And just as they are used here in the U.S. sometimes, ride-alongs in France are used to take civilians like politicians, journalists, celebrities, and others on “observation flights” to put on a show. It appears that’s what was happening in this case, then, when the unnamed civilian’s ejection seat was somehow triggered as the jet was taking off.
The man was shot straight up through the canopy of the plane and into the air, before parachuting safely down to the runway below, still in his seat. According to reports, he did injure his back in the process, but the French Air Force came out day slater with a spokesperson who said the man’s health “is not a cause for concern.”
The actual pilot of the jet suffered minor cuts from the broken canopy when the civilian ejected, though he was able to turn around on take-off and land the plane safely. To investigate what happened, the Rafale fighters were then ground for several days as French Air Force officials attempted to figure out just how something like that could occur.
Some ejection seats in fighter jets have a pull-cord, typically on one side of the pilot or somewhere between his legs, that he can quickly and immediately pull to be ejected from the plane. It’s unclear whether the civilian — who may well have been overwhelmed by being in a high-powered fighter jet like that — accidentally grabbed onto the cord and sent himself flying, or if there was a malfunction on hand, or what.
Whatever the case… talk about a memorable ride-along! How crazy!!!
What do U think, Perezcious readers?! Would U ever ride along in a fighter jet if given the chance?
[Image via WENN]