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October 18, 2010 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Pilot ejects an instant before fighterjet crashes [video] (via mr)
posted by kliuless (54 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Amazingly, no one on the ground was hurt."

It would be amazing if anyone was on the ground.
posted by swift at 7:15 AM on October 18, 2010


Makes me wonder what was wrong with the plane...
posted by carpenter at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2010


"Due to usage restrictions, we are unable to provide this video."

Well, yes, of course, because there is no way Canadian news would be of interest to Canadians.

As an aside, why is it that every American video provider which blocks my Canadian IP address is quite eager to show me the car/iPod/toilet paper ad ahead of the video?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:29 AM on October 18, 2010 [21 favorites]


YouTube of Global and CBC reports.
posted by pracowity at 7:32 AM on October 18, 2010


You might want to complain to MSNBC, as opposed to here. They at least have the power to fix the problem.
posted by nomadicink at 7:32 AM on October 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


If it were windier he could've been blown right into the burning pile of jet fuel. Lucky bastard.

This has been up on YouTube for months, by the way.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:32 AM on October 18, 2010


that damn msnbc website made me sit through a commercial only to tell me, too that due to rights concerns they couldn't show me the video. thank god for youtube.

They at least have the power to fix the problem.
they caused it, true. but telling people here before they sit through commercials is more effective. less adv dollars for them.
posted by krautland at 7:36 AM on October 18, 2010


Capt. Brian Bews.
posted by gubo at 7:36 AM on October 18, 2010


Looks like he stalled without nearly enough altitude to pull out. That was a pretty spectacular fireball.

In the footage I saw, you could hear "Staying alive" playing in the background just before he bails out.
posted by dazed_one at 7:38 AM on October 18, 2010


Pilot ejects an instant before fighterjet crashes

Seems like the right time to do it.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:39 AM on October 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


"If it were windier he could've been blown right into the burning pile of jet fuel. Lucky bastard."

I was thinking if he had just held out one more second before pulling the ejection handle, he would have ejected into the fireball, but yeah wind too.
posted by 517 at 7:40 AM on October 18, 2010


Check Mate

The Ejection Site and Eject, Eject.
posted by pracowity at 7:44 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's really surprising are the comments on that story are mostly about ejection seats and planes and relevant topics. I actually learned a thing or two for a change rather thant just a bunch of garbage.
posted by Blake at 7:52 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This one, with the little sign in the corner saying 'Entering Vehicle Control Zone,' really looks like a Photoshop Phriday entry.
posted by echo target at 7:55 AM on October 18, 2010


Hhe should have used the inflatable slide.
posted by yeti at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2010


Seems like the right time to do it.

Ejecting right above the ground like that is incredibly dangerous, much more than a "normal" ejection. The pilot obviously didn't have much choice in this instance, but given the option you would bail out at a much higher altitude and let the airplane fall where it may - such as a neighborhood in San Diego.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have now watched the Global news report on Youtube (thanks, pracowity) and find it to be up to the usual standards of TV news: "As you can see, the pilot was able to eject from the plane just seconds before it slammed into the ground." Well, no, I suppose he would not have ejected just minutes or just hours before, so "just seconds" it is. And "slammed" is a great word, no? Much better than, y'know, merely hitting the ground or crashing into the ground.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 AM on October 18, 2010


Ejecting right above the ground like that is incredibly dangerous, much more than a "normal" ejection

Beats the hell out of trying to eject right below the ground.
posted by eriko at 8:09 AM on October 18, 2010


> And "slammed" is a great word, no? Much better than, y'know, merely hitting the ground or crashing into the ground.

Allow me to introduce you to Señor Bus Plunge.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:10 AM on October 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


If it were a Russian jet, there would also be a photo of the pilot lighting up a cigarette just seconds after his parachute landing. If you think I'm kidding check out some of the crash clips from the late 1980s.
posted by crapmatic at 8:19 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many billions of dollars worth of jet fighter have hit the ground for airshows, all to the tune of Kenny Loggins' Dangerzone.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:20 AM on October 18, 2010 [6 favorites]



Looking at it, I'm going to suspect that it's pilot error - I think he let the plane get too slow and it wallowed before he could get thrust enough to recover.

There's no obvious sign that the compressor had problems, but the video is pretty grainy. If he had engine trouble, low and slow like that is the worst place to have it.

He's a lucky fellow.

Here's a good one from a few years ago - Thunderbird crash and the Cockpit view.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:26 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I won't be satisfied until someone films a crash like this with a 1,000,000FPS camera and puts it on Vimeo at 1080p resolution with a Bebel Gilberto soundtrack.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:27 AM on October 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


"Beats the hell out of trying to eject right below the ground."

That's it, enough Minecraft for you!
posted by Eideteker at 9:17 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few more times doing that and he'll be almost as good as John McCain!
posted by waraw at 9:18 AM on October 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


> What's really surprising are the comments on that story are mostly about ejection seats and planes and relevant topics.

Why does this surprise you?

The sorts of people who come in and make rude comments in capitals are the same people who find the military the holy of holies - they are probably the ones explaining the technical details.

People like me who are against the military aren't going to be coming into such a thread and shitting on it. The basic reason is that, well, I'm happy he survived! And it's an amazing video. And I don't think that air forces shouldn't exist, simply that too much money is spent upon them. And this isn't an appropriate place for such a discussion. And what good would it do? And the technology is fascinating.

Now, when a Tea Partier or similar is wandering through the net and comes to, say, a discussion about John Cage, none of those issues are going to go through his head - instead, he'll just jump in to tell us what idiots we all are, and then leave.

It's unfortunate, but I think it does serve a useful purpose, and that's that it does reveal the truth under the skin...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:55 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


> The sorts of people who come in and make rude comments in capitals are the same people who find the military the holy of holies - they are probably the ones explaining the technical details.

They're also probably out making straw.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:57 AM on October 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Unfortunately, there are a lot of videos of aircraft crashes on YouTube and LiveLeak. And I have watched them, always feeling a little dirty afterward.

The one that comes to mind in this thead, is this story about a B-52 pilot. More than just pilot error. YouTube.
posted by Xoebe at 10:01 AM on October 18, 2010


Allow me to introduce you to Señor Bus Plunge.

Sockpuppet Name of the Month award!
posted by GuyZero at 10:03 AM on October 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


More importantly than the ads and whatnot, did you guys watch that follow-up story about the GIANT ENCHILADA?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:32 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The sorts of people who come in and make rude comments in capitals are the same people who find the military the holy of holies - they are probably the ones explaining the technical details.

They're also probably out making straw.

Actually, it's a known fact that they are made of straw.
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is where I am very glad my son gave up his pilot slot...shudder....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:05 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


As in comedy, timing is everything.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:09 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The sorts of people who come in and make rude comments in capitals are the same people who find the military the holy of holies - they are probably the ones explaining the technical details.

People of my political persuasion could not possibly make rude comments. We're just generally superior.

It's unfortunate, but I think it does serve a useful purpose, and that's that it does reveal the truth under the skin...

You bet it does. Asinine threadshits do have a purpose!
posted by Snyder at 11:11 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is where I am very glad my son gave up his pilot slot...shudder....

No kidding. One of the statistics I saw somewhere said that around a quarter of ejection seats actually get used for real.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:16 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice post tho, kliuless.
posted by Snyder at 11:19 AM on October 18, 2010


I don't get the connection between Tea Partiers and John Cage.
posted by rocket88 at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2010


Wow. Half the Canadian Air Force gone at once.
posted by Mister_A at 11:39 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. Half the Canadian Air Force gone at once.

Ahahahahahahah! Oh, how droll! Very well-played sir!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:41 AM on October 18, 2010


Seriously though, look at the third photo in the series - look how that plane has been compacted! Such a seemingly solid thing crumpled in an instant, amazing.
posted by Mister_A at 11:43 AM on October 18, 2010


look how that plane has been compacted! Such a seemingly solid thing crumpled in an instant, amazing.

See also. Warning: muzak overlaid on it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:58 AM on October 18, 2010


Perhaps the most entertaining ejector seat was that fitted to the first Lockheed F-104 Starfighters. Because the designers were worried that, at speed, the ejecting pilot would hit the tail, the ejector seat fired downwards. Which is fine, unless you're at low level (where quite a lot of things go wrong), in which case you're probably six feet under before your aircraft has landed. That level of efficiency is probably taking things a bit too far.

Standard procedure for low-level ejections, therefore, was to roll the aircraft before electing to pursue an alternative landing. Which worked, sometimes.

After a while, a more conventional ejector seat was fitted that blasted Biggles skywards without the ground inspection phase. This was better in all respects, apart from the pilots who still carried out the drill for the original seat - you don't get long to think about things when punching out that close to terra firma, and ejection procedures tend to be firmly wired into muscle memory.

Finally, the Starfighter was noted for being the only jet fighter that required its pilots to wear spurs. These latched into a take-up reel in the base of the ejector seat, which pulled the owner's legs clear of the jutty-out bits of the front panels and thus ensured that if he had decided to walk home after all, he had a fighting chance of being able to do so.

(The Canadians flew some, but lost more than half in accidents. It was a splendid aircraft in all respects apart from its ability to kill its pilots or, in dogfights, its willingness to allow the other chap to do so.)
posted by Devonian at 12:17 PM on October 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Cool. Note the rockets on the ejection seat, they are gymbaled to steer the seat "up" no matter what attitude the plane is in (which is why you could even eject inverted as long as there's enough space between you and the ground for the seat to turn around).
posted by cyndigo at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking of weird ejection systems, worth mentioning is the XB-70 Valkyrie. I studied aeronautics at uni, and I have a kind of love-hate relationship with a lot of the aircraft and other technologies developed by the USA and USSR between the end of WWII and, say, 1970. To me, at least, the things that the engineers, scientists, technicians, pilots and all sorts of others achieved in this period represent both a triumph of grand, arching ambition and human ingenuity of absolutely the first water, and simultaneously something deeply wicked. The Valkyrie is one of these things: it's a breathtakingly beautiful aircraft, but it was designed and built to kill lots of people extremely fast. In fact, it kind of came along towards the end of this period, and only existed as an experimental craft; by the time it would have entered service, the role it was desiged to fill had been superseded by the existence of missiles capable of reaching anywhere in the USSR from the USA.

At any rate, the relevance of all this to the post is that the Valkyrie flew very high and very fast, too high and too fast for aircrew in their ordinary flightsuits to survive ejection. So they employed a capsule, which would snap shut around the pilot or copilot to keep them pressurised (see a diagram here and a picture of a ground test here). A similar system had been employed before on the B-58, and in fact had first been tested, in what seems like a bizarrely arbitrary and somewhat cruel procedure, with a sedated black bear as the occupant of the capsule (search for Yogi on this page). However, on a photoshoot (!), there was a collision between an F-104 and one of the two Valkyries, which more or less instantly disintegrated the smaller craft and destroyed many of the Valkyrie's control surfaces; it went into a flat spin. Since the cockpit was so far from the centre of gravity, the force experienced by the two crew was so great that one could not retract his seat into the clamshell section of the capsule, and the other, although he was able to get his capsule closed, found his arm trapped in the casing and was therefore unable to eject. He eventually freed his arm and the capsule ejected from the craft, but he was so disoriented and in such pain that he didnae have the wherewithal to deploy the capsule's parachute. Nonetheless, despite severe injury, he survived the ejection; his colleague, as well as the pilot of the F-104, died.

The Valkyrie limped on a while longer, but flew for the last time in earnest in 1969.
posted by Dim Siawns at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Back in 1989, a Russian pilot had an even closer shave in the Le Bourget air show. This actually enormously helped foreign sales of MiG-29s, since quite a few potential buyers were suitably impressed by the performance of the ejection seat...
posted by Skeptic at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2010


Due to usage restrictions, we are unable to provide this video

No restrictions on the 20 second commercial you have to sit through before you get that message, though.
posted by klue at 1:49 PM on October 18, 2010


Speaking of weird ejection systems, worth mentioning is the XB-70 Valkyrie.

The winner here must surely be the F-111, which simply ejected the entire cockpit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:55 PM on October 18, 2010


Can I just say thanks to Dim Siawns and Devonian for their awesome and totally interesting comments? Ejector seats are serious business. Martin-Baker even has a counter on their website tallying total lives saved and lives saved in 2010. 27 this year, so far.
posted by disillusioned at 2:45 PM on October 18, 2010


Perhaps the most entertaining ejector seat was that fitted to the first Lockheed F-104 Starfighters. Because the designers were worried that, at speed, the ejecting pilot would hit the tail, the ejector seat fired downwards.

Aren't some B-52 crew still afflicted with downward ejectors?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:28 PM on October 18, 2010


Strange attractor: every time someone posts an aviation video link, I know that within 20 minutes I'll be watching this [warning: contains wholly justified swearing] on repeat. Weird.
posted by cromagnon at 3:51 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the great comments, Devonian and Dim Siawns!
posted by tickingclock at 6:23 PM on October 18, 2010


I used to work with the back-seater of the A-4 Skyhawk that had an "encounter" during an F-18 weapon drop test. His callsign? "Fireball".

(also shown with more exciting music and commentary - and what look like Czech or Hungarian subtitles - here)
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:09 PM on October 18, 2010


Reminiscent of The Right Stuff:
Being a fighter pilot--for that matter, simply taking off in a single-engine jet fighter of the Century series, such as an F-102--presented a man, on a perfectly sunny day, with more ways to get himself killed than his wife and children could imagine in their wildest fears. If he was barreling down the runway at two hundred miles and hour, completing the takeoff run, and the board started lighting up red, should he (a) abort the takeoff (and try to wrestle with the monster, which was gorged with jet fuel, out in the sand beyond the end of the runway) or (b) eject (and hope that the goddamned human cannonball trick works at zero altitude and he doesn't shatter an elbow or a kneecap on the way out) or (c) continue the takeoff and deal with the problem aloft (knowing full well that the ship may be on fire and therefore seconds away from exploding)? He would have one second to sort out the actions and act, and this kind of little workaday decision came up all the time. [pp. 24-25]
Then one perfectly sunny day [Iven Kincheloe] was making a routine takeoff in an F-104 and the panel lit up red and he had that one second in which to decide whether or not to punch out at an altitude of about fifty feet...a choice complicated by the fact that the F-104's seat ejected straight down, out of the belly...and so he tried to roll the ship over and eject upside down, but he went out sideways and was killed. [p. 59]
I think there was another story in the book where a two-person plane crashed on takeoff. The guy in the front bailed out, and the guy in the back stayed in the plane, and both made the right choice and lived. It was something like if the guy in the back had tried to eject, he would've died because the cockpit over him had been fused shut. I couldn't find it in the book, though.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:33 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does this mean Bews will now be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong?

Kidding; I hope he survives.
posted by bwg at 3:20 AM on October 19, 2010


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