BANG! And the passenger was gone!

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by BikerBabe, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

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    Original article found here:
    http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article174661.ece'

    Joyrider accidentally ejects from SAAF aerobatic aircraft

    [​IMG]

    A South African Air Force Silver Falcons aircraft like the one involved in the ejection incident.
    Image ┬ęTimes Live.


    The civilian passenger was expecting the ride of a lifetime when he strapped himself into the back seat of a South African Air Force Silver Falcons aircraft.

    But after the aircraft took off, he got more than he bargained for - way more.
    Although confirmed details are thin, it is probable that during an aerobatic manoeuvre, the passenger tried to steady himself by grabbing the black and yellow striped handle between his legs.
    And that's when the ride really began.

    The ejection sequence started with the firing of the three cartridges in the Martin Baker-built seat.
    The seat lifted about 45cm off the floor and this activated the two rockets.
    Passenger and seat smashed through the Perspex canopy of the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II and, pulling about 20G, was 100ft out of the aircraft in two seconds flat.

    The bewildered - and probably terrified - former occupant, whose identity has not been revealed, would have found himself floating in the crisp afternoon air of the Western Cape's Langebaanweg, probably watching as his equally stunned pilot, Captain Gerhard Lourens, circled to make sure his erstwhile passenger was okay.

    In confirming Wednesday's incident, the SAAF said a board of inquiry had been established.
    "Much of the information has yet to be tested, but it is confirmed that a civilian passenger unintentionally ejected from a Silver Falcons Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Astra during a general flying sortie out of Langebaanweg Air Force Base this week.

    "The passenger was recovered (by helicopter) unharmed, and returned to Langebaanweg.
    The aircraft landed safely."

    The spokesman said the flight had been cleared and all procedures adhered to "prior to the passenger boarding the aircraft", making it unlikely charges would follow.

    A retired SAAF instructor pilot said yesterday the passenger could consider himself extremely lucky to have survived the ejection with barely a scratch.
    "We train for this and if you don't get it right, and are not in the correct ejection posture, you can sustain severe spinal cord injuries or even worse."
    He said it was not possible that the seat fired of its own accord. There were too many safety features built into the system.

    "All it takes is for the firing handle (the rubbery black and yellow striped loop) to be pulled up about 2.5cm and you're on your way out."
    He said the ejection would have been dramatic. "You get one almighty kick under the backside and then you're gone.
    "The seat separates from the pilot automatically and the chute opens. This is in case the pilot is incapacitated during the ejection."

    He added that the passenger would have received a thorough briefing on the ejection sequence and warned that the "loop" between his legs was not to be touched unless the pilot called "eject, eject, eject" during the flight.
    Such a briefing is done routinely, even when two qualified pilots are involved in the flight.
    It is likely the rear cockpit was extensively damaged by the firing of the cartridges and rockets during the ejection.

    The Silver Falcons are the SAAF's aerobatic team that perform precision formation and aerobatics displays at airshows around the country. The five pilots are all serving instructors at Central Flying School, Langebaanweg.

    As one observer put it: "What a trip. That guy took off in an Astra, came down in a parachute, and landed back at base in a helicopter. Not bad for a for a single flip."

    ---------------------
    Now that's an "Oops!" if I've ever read about one! :lol:
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    OMG!!! Thats funny and frigtening at the same time!
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Dang...talk about fool's-luck...

    This is a clear example of the "When riding along as a JAFO, do not touch anything!" rule...
     
  4. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    :shock: lucky [email protected] thats for sure!
     
  5. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    "Whats this button do?"

    "No No No NO!!!!!!!!"

    Baaaaaaaaaaaang

    "Oh sh** , I told her not to..."

    That's too funny! Good thing she wasn't injured or it wouldn't have been so funny.
     
  6. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Dang. Heckuva way to get into the Caterpillar Club!
     
  7. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

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    Well my guess is that the unfortunate person in question here won't get a pin from the club, as the plane wasn't disabled in any way.
     
  8. Henk

    Henk Active Member

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    Oh my word. I wonder who this passenger was. Good read thanks mate.
     
  9. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I think it is hilarious, scary but still hilarious.
     
  10. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Got more of a ride than he bargained for!
     
  11. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    D'OH!!!!


    I hate it when that happens!!
     
  12. Butters

    Butters Member

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    Wait 'til the the poor, dumb bast*rd gets the bill...:lol:

    JL
     
  13. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    ...and the one from the dry-cleaners, for his pants....
     
  14. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    What a ride...


    Wheels
     
  15. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I told Terry when I climbed into his T-34 was, " I AIN'T TOUCHING NOTHING!" and his reply was , "Thank you." It does seem like they would have told him what to stay clear of in the cockpit before they took off though doesn't it?
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I would have thought that this passenger got a full egress brief before the flight. When I got to fly in F-4s and T-33s not only were we given a brief, but the egress guys who strapped us in would come around and quiz us on the spot. If we missed too many questions we were removed from the flight.

    Despite on what you folks may read about modern ejection seats, its still a dangerous event that rarely yields no injuries.
     
  17. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I agree. I just can't see any competent pilot going, "Sure, jump on in!" without clearly explaining what and what not to do.
     
  18. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Well, at least it didn't happen in the US, where the pilot would be grounded indefinitely, the Air Force would conduct massive scapegoat investigations whilst grounding all aircraft with an ejection system, the aircraft manufacturer would be sued ("Dockers" lawsuit pending outcome of dry-cleaners) for failing to make the black-yellow striped ejection handle clear enough, and talkshows and various networks would be falling all over themselves to get an exclusive interview/guest appearance/new realtiy-show concept out of the poor, helpless, innocent victim.
     
  19. PilotGod

    PilotGod New Member

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    This isn't without precedent. In the mid 90's a pilot was giving a "Fam" or familiarization flight to a VIP in the F-14D when during an inverted maneuver the VIP used the eject handle to stabilize himself. This resulted in him ejecting out the back and leaving the pilot inverted at 320 knots in a convertible.


    [​IMG]
     
  20. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

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    PG: Ouch! Ew! Dang! :shock:

    About the south african incident, my guess is what the passenger did, was sheer reflex:
    When jousted about, he/she instinctively tried to get hold of something to hang on to, forgetting that he/she was safely strapped in place, because he/she prolly wasn't used to being in any kind of aircraft, and therefore didn't have the habit of not reaching for support in the cockpit.
    My guess is that such an incident would be less likely to happen with a trained pilot in the "passenger" seat.
     
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