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A Pilot Died After Ejecting From Aircraft In Emergency - A True Story


There is no history of ejection seat not firing during flight in any sortie. But one trainee pilot died after ejection from the aircraft during an emergency in the course before mine, as I was told by my instructor. There was no history of the parachute not opening after an automatic ejection sequence. But there was a case where a pilot died after he ejected from this aircraft.

According to my instructor, this was due to a procedural error. The pilot under training was on a solo mission all alone in the cockpit. As he tried to start the ejection sequence, he first pulled the cockpit canopy jettisson lever and the canopy flew away as it should. Then he pulled the ejection loop between his thighs.

But the ejection sequence did not start. So as per procedure he trimmed the aircraft fully forward and then inverted the aircraft. Once the aircraft was flying steady but upside down, he pushed the throttle fully forward as per procedure and then he used both his hands to cut the seat with the leves on both sides of his ejection seat. Once his body became free of the ejection seat, he pushed himself out of the aircraft cockpit.

The Parachute Failed To Open After Ejection And The Pilot Died - A True Story

He was safely out of the aircraft along with his parachute still attached to his back and was tumbling and falling. As per procedure he was supposed to pull the "D" ring on the left side of his waist to initiate the small three feet parachute to open to stabilise him from tumbling. This was to be followed by the three feet parachute pulling out the 27 feet main parachute from the back pack automatically after three seconds.

Unfortunately, he could not pull the three feet parachute out of his back pack and continued to free fall, increase his speed every moment till he hit the ground and died instantly. Pieces of his body had to be picked up from many places, some of which were not even identifiable due to the heavy impact.

The Reason for Ejection Parachute Failure To Open- A True Story

There was nothing wrong with the ejection seat or the parachute. But this trainee pilot was a left hander. He failed to pull the "D" Ring to manually open the parachute. Unfortunately this Pilot was LEFT HANDED. So instead of pulling the D Ring on the left hand side with his right hand, he kept using his left hand and searched for the D Ring on the righ side of his abdomen.

As he kept falling down towards the earth, he must have seen the ground rushing at him fast and he started searching for the D Ring even more desperately on the wrong side. The Court of Inquiry had found evidence that the Pilot under training had actually tore open his abdomen in his quest to find the D Ring to pull, to deploy the Parachute.

Since this pilot died of procedural error and failed to open the parachute after ejecting safely from the aircraft, during our course the Air Force changed the procedure for manual ejection. The original procedure was to "Open the D Ring after ejection". The new procedure says "Open the D Ring after ejection with both hands."

This change in procedure was done so that irrespective of the pilot is Left handed or Right handed, he will find the D Ring. So a right handed pilot finding the D Ring fixed on the left side and the Left handed pilot not finding the D Ring on the right side is avoided. One of the hands will find the D Ring.

After remembering this true story narrated to me by my instructor, I was even more scared to eject. I did not know how my behaviour wil be when I eject from the cockpit into the thin and super cold freezing air. I just wished that my automatic ejection seat mechanism fires when I pull the ejection seat loop. Finally, I decided to eject and started preparing to eject from the cockpit of my aircraft with a fuel emergency.

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