This is a what NOT to do story if you’re ever in a Pilatus PC-7 Mk II. Do not, I repeat, do not, use the black and yellow handle located between your legs to steady yourself. Not even if you’re pretending to be Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. Pull on that handle and you’ll find yourself out of the plane before you can say, “Ooops, I shouldn’t have done that.”
That handle is what the pilots and passengers can use to activate the ejector seat in order to shoot out from the plane in case of an emergency.
In the case of this recent mishap, the passenger was on a joy ride with an expert pilot of South Africa’s Silver Falcons air display team when he pulled the lever during one of the maneuvers.
And whoosh!, there he went–the two rockets attached to the back of his chair catapulting him right out of the plane 100m up into the wide open sky.
Luckily, the ejector seat is designed to release a parachute so the man safely floated back to solid ground near the Langebaanweg airfield not far from Cape Town, South Africa.
If one could be assured that you’d land as safely as this guy did, you have to admit this does sound like it would be a blast in more ways than one.
I wonder if pilots will now post a sign in front of the passenger seat saying, “DO NOT pull the yellow and black lever. DON”T EVEN TOUCH IT. Ever.” [news.com.au]
*The Pilatus PC-7 in the photo is from the Royal Netherlands Air Force