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an illustrated history of  assisted aircrew escape systems  and a global chronicle of all known ejections and bail-outs


contact: mbenshar@aol.com

Most FEEDBACK received is now added to the mishap or section it is relevant to.
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Accuracy is essential in research. Often "things are not what they at first appear".  Accepted versions of events and descriptions of photographic images over time become "fact".

FEEDBACK is specifically included  to help establish  the historical accuracy of this website and where a definitive answer cannot be arrived at all relevant information will be included so that the reader can draw their own conclusions.

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I am grateful to Martin Kender who wrote that the photo is a more likely a demonstration of the "Hands Free Harness" - hence the rather exaggerated gesture from the parachutist.  The basket is almost certainly a Royal Aero Club sport model - note that it is open wove and lined with fabric. Service baskets were usually solid weave) and the suspension rig is the RFC trapeze. (not conclusive as sport baskets were used by both sides, and the German Feldluftschiffe abteilungen also used the trapeze although a circular "hoop" was more common).  Also note that the observer is not wearing flying kit but has an ordinary tunic and trousers, again not conclusive, but consistent with the short ascent for a demo or test.
7th November 2005
Mike: I saw your ejection site and thought I'd give you a couple of comments-
26 Oct 84 ejection  EA-6B 161351  NK604  VAQ-139
- Off Hawaii, aircraft was landing on Constellation and caught the number three wire, which was not in battery (set for recovery). Aircraft went over the angle and the crew ejected. 
Pilot: Lcdr Greg Elcock (his second, was also in the 13 May 82 EA-6B loss) suffered a broken back, never flew again. Lcdr Walt Donovan, Lt Greg George, Lt Rick Morgan all minor injuries.  We all went right back on flight status.    
22 May 85: ejections: EA-4F  154655  GD108  VAQ-33
- At North Island, CA,  Suffered engine failure during emergency approach in instrument conditions. Both crew ejected, pilot Lt Matt Hawley killed, NFO LT Kathy "KC" Cullen survived.  SHE WAS THE FIRST FEMALE TO EJECT FROM A US NAVY JET.

Rick Morgan

17th March 2006


 I used to be in the RAF and can add some things to your interesting list of ejections.

 Firstly, you do not have the crash of ZH203 Tucano Mk 51 off Rathlin Island, Mull of Kintyre on (I think) 22/2/1990.  The pilot was Allan Deacon Shorts chief test pilot who ejected with minor injuries but was drowned in the rough sea conditions without getting into his dinghy – no immersion suit….  This aircraft was the first one destined for the Kenyan AF and was doing high speed flutter trials with underwing stores when the tail came off because of the effects of the stores damping the wing oscillations.  His injuries were caused because he had accidentally disconnected his leg restraints. 

 Then, the crash of a Harrier GR5 on 17/10/90 was due to complete engine failure – LP compressor I think – the pilot was Ashley Stevenson, who was also the pilot of XZ147 which crashed on 25/9/91, for which I did the inquiry.  The cause of that one was a bird strike at 420 kts at 250 ft – it was a gull, adult weight 400gm!  It was amazing that they both got out as he was incapacitated by the bird in the face and so could not order the ejection – Kate just followed his heels – 6 secs from impact to impact. She did recover from her injuries.

 NB re the Hawk at Bedford 1/82 – the navigator who stayed in the aircraft had his helmet worn away as it scraped along the runway upside down. He couldn’t eject as he had a huge camera on his lap.

 The pilot of XV792 in 10/80 was Flt Lt Nigel Storah, a close friend.  The technical defect was in the roll control reaction duct which was why he was out of the seat parameters.  It happened mid week so it wasn’t 4/10/80 which was a Saturday.

 Finally the Vulcan on 17/1/77 was near Spilsby, Lincs.  They tested the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) and it caught light, setting fire to the aircraft.  The three rear crew also bailed out in the more usual fashion (which was rumoured to be the first time that a complete crew got out of a Vulcan)

 Would it be possible to have a search/filter facility to filter by aircraft type or air force?

 Matthew Clements


24th March 2006


    I was stationed at ft. Huachuca in Arizona during the mid 1980's at Libby Army Airfield. One of the aircraft we flew was the OV-1 Mohawk built by Grumman.  One day while I was at the field on the ramp, a Mohawk took off for a flight check after some maintenance had been completed. After a normal takeoff and upon gaining some altitude the aircraft suffered and engine failure on the # 1 engine. Being heavy and still somewhat slow the crew could not land and ejected over the end of the runway in full view! The aircraft then descended off to the right of the runway runoff. The crew came down safely close to the runway.  Let me tell you that at the next ejection safety class I paid close attention. 


9th October 2006
Ok Mike some more information on Lightning F3 losses at Wattisham 29 Sqdn where I was in charge of the line.
22.9.71 Lightning Mk3 29 Sqdn Wattisham. XP736 Fg. Off. Mottershead on first trip with squadron crashed into the N. Sea off Lowestoft, I don't think either aircraft nor pilot were found. I actually signed the aircraft F700 and checked him out to the aircraft.
16.2.72 Lightning Mk3's 29 Sqdn XP698 and XP747 collided off Harwich. Flt. Lt "Chile" Cooper in XP698 was killed, Flt Lt Paul Reynolds ejected safely from XP747
7.8.72 Lightning Mk 3 29 Sqdn XP700 - Flt Lt George Fenton took off but raised the undercarriage before flying speed was reached, A/C sank onto ventral tank and caught fire - he flew straight ahead gaining height and when over open country was advised by tower to eject which he did safely. ( Your note about him attempting an emergency landing is incorrect.). I was watching from the line hut.
7.12.72  (?) Canberra crashed at Wattisham attempting an assymetric landing. Crew of 3 were killed
Hope this is of interest
Peter Hindley



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