Rafale Ride Leads To Inadvertent Ejection Overstressed Pax

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Unread post09 Apr 2020, 22:15

Fighter jet crash averted by defect in civil ejection incident & Rafale Ride Leads To Inadvertent Ejection By Overstressed Passenger
08 Apr 2020 Clement Charpentreau & 09 Apr 2020 Steve Trimble

"On March 20, 2019, a civilian passenger was accidentally ejected from a twin-seat Rafale B fighter jet as the aircraft was taking off from Saint-Dizier 113 airbase, eastern France. The final report of the French investigation bureau for State aviation safety (BEA-E) on the incident outlines a chain reaction of both human and technical failures, one of which unexpectedly prevented the fighter jet from crashing.

Passenger unprepared and mishandled [that's for sure - really unprofessional negligent conduct by personnel]
The civilian passenger, identified by the report as a 64-year-old employee of a French defense manufacturer, was offered a discovery flight on a Dassault Rafale B fighter jet as a surprise by four of his colleagues, including a former pilot of the French Air Force that organized the gift....

...Following orders of a regular training mission that involved two other Rafales, the pilot took off and climbed at 47°, generating a load factor of around +4G. Then, as he leveled off, he subjected his passenger to a negative load factor of about -0.6G.

“Discovering the feeling of the negative load factor, the insufficiently strapped and totally surprised passenger held onto the ejector handle and activated it unintentionally,” states the report. During the ejection, the civilian lost his helmet and oxygen mask. Due to a technical flaw of the seat, the dinghy failed to inflate, but fortunately, the incident happened above land. The passenger sustained minor injuries....

Technical flaw saves the aircraft [only good thing about this sad event]
Additionally to the mishandling of the passenger, the incident revealed something else: a malfunction of the ejection seat.

The fighter jet was set up to, under normal conditions, eject both the pilot and his passenger when one of them pulls on the ejection handle. The BEA-E explains the procedure of a Rafale double ejection in four stages: first, the back canopy is shattered by a line of explosives embedded into the glass, before the passenger seat is ejected. Then, the front canopy is also destroyed, and the pilot seat is the last to leave the fighter jet. But in this case, the last stage failed and, despite his canopy being ejected, the pilot remained in his seat...."
___________________________________________

"...The passenger’s inadvertent ejection command could have been disastrous for the aircraft. The two-seat version of the Rafale allows the pilot to select between two options: “1” allows only a single seat to eject when one handle is pulled, and “2” commands both seats to eject when only one is pulled. The pilot had selected the “2” option for this flight, the report says, meaning the pilot’s seat was also supposed to eject.

The ejection sequence proceeded normally, with the canopy of both seats shattering and the back seat firing. However, the explosive charge connected to the front seat never received a command to fire, the report says. As a result, the pilot remained on board the aircraft, albeit with a missing canopy and back seat. The pilot dumped fuel and returned to Saint Dizier to land, the report says. The aircraft was secured for 24 hr. until the front seat’s explosive charge could be disarmed."

PHOTO: https://aviationweek.com/sites/default/ ... .16_pm.png

Accident Report in French Language: https://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/dow ... 9-03-I.pdf (4Mb)

Sources: https://www.aerotime.aero/clement.charp ... n-incident & https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... -passenger
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Unread post09 Apr 2020, 23:39

Reads like a comic.

Painful for the participants though.
"Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know"
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Unread post10 Apr 2020, 00:27

Painful & Expensive. An ASTERIX worthy tale indeed: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HkS8pJCJpOA/R ... ikgben.jpg
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Unread post10 Apr 2020, 05:51

Murphy working overtime.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post14 Apr 2020, 18:44

Interesting story:
https://nypost.com/2020/04/13/man-accid ... 2500-feet/

Apparently this guy won the opportunity to ride in the backseat of a Rafale (lucky bastard!). He was incredibly nervous and he accidentally pulled the ejection handle at 2,500 feet. He was fine and the pilot successfully landed the plane.

A few questions come to mind:

1. When you eject, does the whole canopy get released or is it just part of the canopy?
2. Did the pilot land the jet without a canopy or was his part of canopy still intact?
3. How come the pilot didn't get ejected? Shouldn't both crew members have been ejected?

It would seem that there was some kind of malfunction that prevented the pilot from ejecting so he was able to save the plane. That was of course good in this situation but I imagine that would be something they'd need to seriously investigate because in a combat situation you wouldn't want that happening.

That of course brings me to the next question:

How much is this going to cost to repair? :shock: :shock:
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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 04:53

A few more details as reported by Popular Mechanics
1. The fellow actually was not intereste din getting a ride, but eventually agreed to it.
2.They weren't supposed to do ANY negtive gs -- apparently freaked the poor guy out
3. His helmet came off during the ejection as it was not properly secured
- he apparently did have some injuries

And yes, his instructions were either inadequate or he forgot them

hj
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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 09:30

Hmmm ALL those details are in the two articles posted above. I have read the passenger was NOT briefed and there is an explanation about why negative G (communication from flight doctor delayed by comms malfunction). I'll say again the entire RAFALE crew showed poor care of the passenger. In my book the pilot needs to be able to communicate with the passenger and he could not (helmet comms not plugged in). Passenger not properly strapped in - a pilot/ground crew responsibility to ensure every thing is ship shape and ready to go. Ejection select EITHER/OR not selected appropriately (but I do not know the SOP for RAFALEs). IF the pilot intended the passenger to eject him also he needed to brief the passenger himself and ensure EVERYTHING was good to go and as I mentioned the COMMUNICATION between pilot & pax.

I reckon this pilot should start flying aircraft where he is NOT responsible for much. This accident is just outrageous. Perhaps there are more details which may explain some things however again in my book - the pilot is responsible in the way the captain of a ship is responsible for the safety and well-being of ship crew and safety of the ship overall.
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Unread post21 May 2020, 13:40

Inadvertent passenger ejection from French Rafale – report released
June 2020 AIRFORCES Monthly Magazine

“...After a walkaround of the aircraft, the passenger was installed in the rear seat, with the pilot having responsibility for adjusting the various restraint straps on his seat. In fact, the passenger carried out most of his installation into the cockpit by himself. This resulted in his visor being up, his anti-g trousers not being worn properly, his helmet and oxygen mask both being unattached and his seat straps not tight enough....

...The report noted that the passenger was nervous even before getting on board the aircraft and was not prepared for the precise conditions of takeoff. He was therefore surprised by the load factor and its rapid reversal. Thus, the already extreme stress of the passenger and the unexpected passage into a negative load factor caused him to grip the ejection handle and resulted in its activation. The passenger’s involuntary action on the handle was linked to a lack of understanding and preparation for certain effects inherent in fighter jet flight....” [Pax did not hear anything from pilot either - no comms - IF pilot smart - aware of PAX comfort he would explain what is happening nestpas?]

Source: AIRFORCES MONTHLY Magazine June 2020 Issue 387
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