Military | April 14, 2020 11:53 am

French Man Accidentally Hits Ejector Seat Button During Joyride in a Fighter Jet

The 64-year-old’s coworkers organized the flight

French man uses ejector seat in fighter jet
The French man parachuting down.
Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation civile

When you want to do something nice for a coworker, the usual course of action is going out for drinks, a box of doughnuts in the morning or maybe a gift card to the coffee shop around the corner. One French firm apparently didn’t think that was enough for a 64-year-old colleague, so they went above and beyond, quite literally, and booked him a joyride on a fighter jet.

The problem? According to CNN, the man “had never expressed any desire to fly in a fighter jet and had no previous military aviation experience.” He became so stressed during the flight that he accidentally hit the ejector seat button — and was sent careening through the air at 2,500 feet. 

“To make matters worse, he had not securely attached his helmet, which went flying in midair,” wrote CNN, citing a new accident report from the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety. 

Thankfully, both the passenger and the pilot made it to the ground relatively safely, the former “parachuting to earth in a field near the German border” before being taken to the hospital and the latter landing the Dassault Rafale B jet.

Aviation experts might be wondering why the pilot wasn’t shot out of there like a human cannonball too. According to BuzzFeed News, “Despite the jet normally ejecting both the passenger and pilot when one of them pulls the ejector handle, the mechanism failed and only the passenger went flying.” (Are we sure this isn’t the plot of a Mr. Bean movie?)

This work outing gone wrong actually took place over a year ago in March 2019, but the details are just coming out in full through the French agency report. 

If you’re thinking this all sounds a little fishy, that maybe the whole point of the endeavor was to test out the ejector seat on a dare, the investigators did conclude that the man hit the button involuntarily. 

Take that as a word of warning: If you decide to spring a fighter jet joyride on a coworker, point out the ejector button … and make sure their helmet is on tight.

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