Weird Incident

Weird Incident 14 April, 2020

Rafale, one of the most advanced combat aircraft, witnessed a strange event last year.

The French military air accident investigation agency released details of an incident that occurred in March 2019. In the incident involving a Rafale B stationed at Saint Dizier / Robinson, a 64-year-old man ejected himself "by mistake" from the aircraft. The employees of the aircraft manufacturer company have arranged a flight in the back seat of the platform to give the person a nice experience. However, the health processes that should have started about 10 days before the flight were ignored in order to keep the surprise intact. The ejection seat briefing, which lasted for four hours, was passed in 10 minutes. The person, whose shoulder straps were not tightened enough on the aircraft, and the right leg of the anti-G suit was not attached properly, took off in conditions that significantly violated flight safety.

The pilot of Rafale B, serial number 358/4-FY, along with the other two platforms, was airborne from the runway for routine patrol flight. In such missions, following the departure, the climb starts with a 4.5G pull in French Air Force procedures. After a 10-second climb, the pilot levelled the Rafale with -0.63G manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the back seat's shoulder straps were loosened further, allowing the person to move more than it should. Looking for a hold in the cockpit, the 64-year-old man accidentally pulled the handle of the ejection seat. The plane, which started the launch sequence, ejected the canopy first and then the back seat. In double-seater aircraft, the pilot had to be evacuated from the plane in the third phase, but this did not happen. Rafale B returned to the base without a canopy safely.

Rafale aircraft use Martin-Baker production Mk16 (F16F) ejection seats. No explanation has been made as to whether the system, which has proven its reliability many times, did not proceed to the third step due to a malfunction or because the pilot changed the launch sequence manually.

Weird Incident

Issue 86