Air Force Instructor Dies After Texan II’s Ejection Seat Activates on Ground

The incident occurred at the 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

A Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program pilot in the back seat of a T-6A Texan II watches as an F-35A Lightning II lands at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, January 10, 2019. [Courtesy: U.S. Air Force]

A U.S. Air Force flight instructor died Tuesday after the ejection seat in his T-6 Texan II activated while the aircraft was on the ground the day before.

The incident occurred Monday at the 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, but the pilot was attached to the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program that instructs new military pilots from Canada and various European countries.

The pilot was taken to a hospital but died about 12 hours after the incident, which the Air Force is currently investigating.

There have been issues with the ejection seats in Texan IIs, which have been in service for 17 years and are based on the Pilatus PC-9 built under license by Beechcraft. The airplanes were grounded in 2022 after a potential defect was discovered in the Martin-Baker seats’ explosive cartridge, and some were replaced.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AVweb.

Russ Niles
Russ NilesContributor
Russ Niles has been a journalist for 40 years, a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb in 2003. When he’s not writing about airplanes he and his wife Marni run a small winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

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