This is more than the hilarious scenario you’re probably imagining; point of fact, this should be a lesson in not putting yourself out of your own way out of politeness. For all of us. At least that’s what my biggest takeaway has been from this report by the French government, only revealed to the public this past week as they investigate the whole man-ejects-from-fighter-jet incident further.
In March of last year, a 64-year-old French man was surprised by his coworkers with a gift many would be ecstatic about: riding shotgun in a Dassault Rafale B military fighter jet. This doesn’t exactly come easy in most parts of the world, with extensive negotiations between said coworkers and the government involved just to obtain the necessary permission. There was just one problem… old mate had never expressed any interest in flying, let alone in a fighter jet.
Feeling obligated due to the effort – though for what possible reason anyone thought this was a good idea still remains somewhat of a mystery today – the senior citizen decided to go through with it. During the pre-flight safety briefing, it was reported that he was both stressed and confused. Especially during the crucial details regarding the ejector seat.
And just for an additional layer of comedy, the poor fella had a smartwatch strapped to him the entire time. His recorded heart rate? Between 136 and 142 beats per minute. The average resting heart rate, of course, being between 60 and 100 beats per minute for adults; and the maximum heart rate for someone of this age being around 156 beats per minute.
Cut to a little later on, and our polite-to-a-detriment Frenchman is in the cockpit. As the flight took off, the pilot began levelling off the jet at around 320 miles per hour in a phase known as ‘negative gravitational load factor’. This is apparently a state that feels as though you’re upside down. That’s when the hilarious headline-making panic set in. I personally imagine a Will Ferrell type blowing his lungs out a la The Other Guys bad cop-bad cop interrogation scene.
The 64-year-old passenger “accidentally” hit the eject button, tearing the canopy off, and launching himself 2,500 feet into the air. What’s worse is the fact that in his stress/panic/concern, his helmet wasn’t even secured properly. Meaning that flew right off as well mid comedic free fall. The pilot – as confused as he would have undoubtedly been – managed to land the aircraft safely. Thankfully, the reluctant passenger also managed to land relatively safely, walking away with only minor injuries.
As previously stated, authorities are still currently investigating this whole man-ejects-from-fighter-jet incident. Though short of a whoopee cushion, I doubt we could unearth any more comedy out of this whole ordeal.