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Posted: 11/3/2009 5:25:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 5:28:14 AM EST by anubis4006]
As the plane rolled into another stomach-churning manoeuvre, the passenger was probably wishing that he was somewhere else.
Then, just like that, he was.
The man, a civilian joyriding with his air force pilot friend, accidentally grabbed the eject lever while trying to brace himself.
He was instantly fired through the aircraft's perspex canopy and blasted 320ft (100m) into the sky by the rocket-powered chair.
He then floated down to the ground with a parachute that opened automatically.
Experts said he was lucky to escape unharmed from the bizarre accident last week in South Africa.
Air Force bosses scrambled a helicopter to pick him up after the blunder near Langebaanweg airfield, 80 miles north of Cape Town.
The pilot of the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II was an experienced member of the Silver Falcons air force air display team, Captain Gerhard Lourens. It is thought that he was the passenger's friend.
Civilians are not usually allowed in the turboprop aircraft, and an air force spokesman confirmed that officials had launched an investigation into the accident.
He added: '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.

The passenger was recovered unharmed, and returned to Langebaanweg. The aircraft landed safely.'

The yellow-and-black eject levers are fitted as standard in the jets to allow pilots and their passengers to escape in the event of an emergency. It only needs to be pulled 2.5cm to activate two rockets attached to the chair.
ejector seat

One retired air force pilot instructor said the man, who would have been wearing flight kit and a helmet, was lucky to have escaped serious injury during the ejection process.

He would have experienced 20G of acceleration - about four times the amount a Formula One driver experiences when breaking heavily - while leaving the plane.

The retired instructor added: 'All it takes is for the firing handle to be pulled up about 2.5cm and you're on your way out.

'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.

'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.'

The Silver Falcons are South Africa's official aerobatic display team and were founded in 1968.

The five-man squad has performed at many of the country's major political and sporting events.


A ride he won't forget any time soon.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:29:42 AM EST
That would be one career up in flames.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:31:11 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:31:17 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:33:44 AM EST

We totally need an EJECTEJECTEJECT smileyface .gif
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