Travel News

Passenger Accidentally Ejects Himself from a Fighter Jet During Joy Ride

Written by Charlie

During a fighter jet joy ride, the scared passenger accidentally ejected himself from the jet. Here is the breakdown of what happened according to the report.

Imagine you have your co-workers tell you they have a great gift for you – only you find out when you arrive that it is a ride in a fighter jet. And that is something you never had wanted! What happens when panic sets in?

Fighter Jet Joy Ride Ends With Ejection

This is what happened to a 64-year-old man in France who was taken to the Saint-Dizier base for his special gift. The present? It was a flight in a Dassault Rafale B fighter jet. This event took place over a year ago but is making the news rounds now that the official report has been released. It had been arranged with the military authorities by the company management.

Now, I would have been pretty thrilled with that for sure but not everyone is! According to the investigative report (by the French government), the man (who was left unnamed) had a smartwatch on that indicated his heart rate was between 136 – 142 beats per minute – before he even took flight. According to the report, this was his first time on any plane except an airliner.

So, when the fighter jet (which is capable of flying up to 870 miles per hour) took off with two other planes in a training exercise, the man became very nervous and grabbed near the base of his seat. One of his hands grabbed the ejection control. With that, the canopy of the jet blew off and he was ejected while the jet was at 2,500 feet elevation.

Here is what the report says (translated to English from French):

The combination of the successive effects of a positive and negative load factor in a few seconds has likely be stressful and may explain why the passenger unintentionally pulled the ejection handle to hang on to its seat and counter the sensation of elevation and rise in the suspenders. This feeling of elevation could be reinforced by the fact that the passenger’s harness was not perfectly adjusted.

The photos from the official report

Failures Along the Way

According to the report via this site, the ejection system actually didn’t work like it was supposed to. Upon triggering the ejection from the passenger seat, it was to blow the passenger canopy followed by ejecting the passenger and then the system would have done the same for the pilot’s canopy and seat.

Apparently, the system malfunctioned at the fourth step by not ejecting the pilot. That was a very fortunate malfunction as otherwise the plane would have been left to crash. Instead, the pilot was able to land it safely with only minor injuries from the canopy’s detonation. The passenger was also ok and transported to the hospital after.

Also according to the report (as written about here again), there were many steps that had been skipped. The passenger had been checked by a doctor four hours ahead of the flight and the doctor determined that he should not have a “negative load factor” during the flight. The pilot never received this information (and the passenger was submitted to a negative load factor of -0.6G after the flight leveled off).

Not only that, the passenger ended up being responsible for many of the steps before take-off – something that contributed to him losing his helmet at the point of ejection and not having all his equipment properly secured.

Would you have been excited with a gift like this or no?

Featured image courtesy of Tim Felce (Airwolfhound) – Rafale – RIAT 2009, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • “According to the report, this was his first time on any plane except an airliner.” – Well this is true for over 99.99% of the people out there. Fortunately, it does not describe me and I would love a chance to fly in a modern jet fighter.

    • I took it to mean that he had not even flown in a tiny private prop or similar either. My first flight ever was in a little 4-seater prop plane! 🙂 I am with you and checked all over to see if this ride was something publicly available to pay for but it seems it was just someone who knew a guy who knew someone else type thing.

  • I know I’m not supposed to, but I can’t stop laughing after reading all the goof ups that led to his ejection.

    If his pulse rate was that high before take off, can you imagine when parachuting down?