AirSpace Ep.3:
Bailing Out

Posted on Thu, March 8, 2018
  • by: Katie Moyer, Executive Producer
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"Eject, eject, eject!" Most of us are experienced at bailing out of social situations, but what about airplanes? Fewer than 1 percent of military pilots ever pull the eject handle, but they all know what comes next. The canopy blows, and the pilot is (literally!) rocketed up and out. Now what? In this episode, we’ll learn how pilots train to get out and back down to Earth safely, and we’ll hear from someone who did it (upside down, at 23,000 feet!). Join Emily, Matt, and Nick as they discuss the ins and outs of bailing out.

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Update: We heard from a squadron mate of Chris’, who reminisced about the first time he heard the story (over the radio before Chris and Snake bailed out, and after they were safely recovered). He enjoyed the retelling, but corrected us about one thing: the canopy of an F-14 can actually hover momentarily above the cockpit in the event of an ejection, specifically when the aircraft is in a flat spin, as seen in Top Gun. The procedure for F-14 crews in the event of a confirmed flat spin was to release the canopy manually a few seconds before pulling the eject handle. Many thanks to this listener for correcting the record. We welcome listener feedback anytime via airspace@si.edu.

  • Chris Browne with ejection tie.

    The National Air and Space Museum’s interim director Chris Browne with his Martin-Baker ejection tie. Chris ejected from an F-14 on March 17, 1983.  

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    AirSpace host Nick Partridge gives the parachute simulator a try at Joint Base Andrews.

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    AirSpace host Nick Partridge checks out the F-16 ejection trainer at Joint Base Andrews.