French Rafale fleet partially grounded pending safety review
Part of the Rafale fleet of the French Air Force is currently grounded as a precautionary measure while the reasons behind the incident that took place on March 21, 2019 are being investigated.
On March 20, 2019, a civilian passenger was accidentally ejected from a twin-seat Rafale B fighter jet as the aircraft was taking off for an “observation” flight”.
The grounding was confirmed by a spokesperson of the Air Force quoted by French media Le Journal de l’Aviation. While training is suspended, operational flights are, however, not affected. The grounding was ordered to give time to " clarify certain aspects and lift certain interrogations".
Despite the Rafale ejection seat, the Martin Baker Mk-F16F, being of the “zero-zero” type (meaning it can safely be used from a stationary “zero airspeed zero altitude” position), the passenger whose identity remains unknown injured his back when he fell on the runway. This can be attributed to a lack of preparation.
As for the pilot, he managed to land shortly after the incident. His hands were slightly injured by broken glass from the canopy.
The three investigations, including one from the French investigation bureau for State aviation safety (BEA-E) and one from the Gendarmerie de l’Air, are still ongoing to determine if the ejection seat was triggered voluntarily, involuntarily or following a malfunction. This incident is the first accidental ejection from a Rafale.
Boeing CEOs timeline: will Calhoun bring change?
With David Calhoun taking the helm of the company, will Boeing get out of the 737 MAX crisis with its reputation intact...
Welcome to the family, A330: Airbus most successful wide-body
On this exact day, 26 years ago, the first-ever commercial Airbus A330 flight departed from Paris to Marseille. We look...
Bombardier to review A220 program stake after financial bump
After difficulties in other divisions and financial results that are below expectations, Bombardier indicates that it is...
Airbus makes 1st fully automatic vision-based take-off [Video]
Airbus performed the first fully automatic vision-based take-off using an Airbus Family test aircraft on January 16, 202...
2020: revolutionary year for the $700B worth global aviation
2019 brought a challenging period for aviation industry. Boeing MAX grounding, “flight shame” movement, airline bankrupt...