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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by brien23, Dec 19, 2019.
I have to correct myself. I was a 24 year old Naval reservist on July 4th 1980. That summer I was in the process of signing up with VP-64 so that I could get activated and pick a duty station. I had 3 1/2 years of active duty working on a wide variety of naval aircraft at NAF Warminster. As a Parachute Rigger I worked on the A-4 Skyhawk, the T-2 Buckeye, the A-7 Corsair, the P-3 Orion, the A-3 Sky Warrior and several other types of planes and helicopters. I dealt with ejection seat aircraft almost daily. I even got volunteered to assist our AME's in removing and installing ejection seats a couple of times! I never got fully comfortable around ejection seats and always checked the pins and followed the rules before doing egress system maintenance. I don't know what happened in the S-3 cockpit that July day, but I'll never forget the results.
I was in USAF UPT when it happened.
But story I heard, was that all the ground safety pins were in, including those internal to the seat. And the kid pulled them all. One story stated pilot was chatting up the Mom.
Thanks Pinecone. I recall the starboard side ejection seat was activated. I saw the hole in the canopy as I went back to the S-3. I think the pilot seat is where his brother was seated. The Lady in the lawn chair under the port wing was standing up with a stunned look on her face and she was alone. I had always assumed that this was their mother. It all happened so fast and the first 60 seconds were a blur. I know that the child that was ejected landed forward of the S-3 and slightly left of center. I had pivoted around on my bicycle and got to him in the first minute after the ejection. I recall freezing, he was not moving, no sounds. No blood, no guts. If the tarmack were grass you would think he had taken a nap and was in a peaceful position. By this time I could hear 1st responders approaching. I could not bring myself to assist him in any way. It is probably for the best that I turned and got out of the way. One last detail, He was coated in a fine layer of grey residue. This made the event look staged as if he was a manequin or this was some kind of training drill. I was stunned for a while after this. I couldn't figure out where to point a finger and I can assure that this child didn't suffer, RIP.