Air Force pilot in Texas dies from ejection seat accident in grounded plane

Air Force pilot in Texas dies from ejection seat accident in grounded plane

A US Air Force pilot instructor has died from injuries sustained when their ejection seat activated in a training plane that was still on the ground.

The accidental ejection took place at 1.55pm on Monday at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, and injured a member of the 80th Flying Training Wing, which trains pilots. The individual later succumbed to their injuries.

The accident took place when the ejection seat in the aviator’s T-6A Texan II training plane “activated during ground operations,” according to the military branch.

The Air Force is not identifying the individual until their next of kin can be identified. The branch is conducting an investigation into the accident.

The accident is the latest in a string of incidents in the single-engine, two-seat class of planes, reports.

Last month, an Air Force T-6 with the 559th Training Squadron had an emergency landing at a different base in Texas.

During the summer of 2022, the Air Force temporarily grounded 76 of its Texan II aircraft, over concerns of a potentially defective ejection seat part.

Breaking Defense later reported that two months after the planes were grounded in July, no faulty cartridges had been found.

Between 2000 and 2021, a total of seven mishaps occurred in T-6s, killing two T-6 pilots, according to Air Force data.

The aircraft, produced by Raytheon, has a turbo-prop engine with 1,100 horsepower and is used in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training programme, which trains NATO combat pilots.