“Man who never wanted to ride in fighter jet accidentally ejects himself”
A man who was terrified by his retirement gift from co-workers — a ride in a fighter jet — grabbed the ejector handle in a panic and was launched through the skies 2,500 feet above the ground, says the official government report on the incident.
The ride on March 20, 2019, had been arranged as a surprise gift to the 64-year-old man, who was leaving his job at a French defense contractor. His co-workers took him to the Saint-Dizier air base, 100 miles east of Paris, and announced he would be flying in a Dassault Rafale B.
The man had never expressed any desire to fly in a fighter jet and had no military aviation experience, said the report by investigators for France’s aviation safety agency…
Safety checks were apparently lax, and he was allowed to adjust his own gear. His helmet strap was unfastened, his oxygen mask unattached, his visor was up, and his seat harness was loose.
On takeoff, the pilot and passenger were subjected to 4 Gs. Leveling off around 2,500 feet, that dropped to negative 0.6 Gs, a feeling of weightlessness. At that point, said a translated version of the report, “the insufficiently strapped and totally surprised passenger” grabbed for the nearest handle — which turned out to activate the ejector seat.
He landed in a field near the German border with only minor injuries. Here is the full story.