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Shocking footage of fighter jet pilot ejecting two seconds before disaster at airshow

Shocking footage of fighter jet pilot ejecting two seconds before disaster at airshow

That was a very close call!

If you think that merging onto a highway is nerve-wracking then you will not be prepared for this pilot's very near miss.

There are any number of things that a pilot must take account of when flying, but one of the most terrifying things that could happen is a stall.

In the simplest possible terms, this means that there is no longer enough upwards force being generated by the wings to keep the plane airborne. It happens if a plane turns too sharply or climbs too steeply.

The miracle of how planes stay up means that what is effectively a huge hunk of specially-shaped metal can somehow defeat gravity. But if a plane stalls badly enough then that big hunk of metal becomes - you guessed it - just a big hunk of metal.

One pilot had a very near miss when the plane that they were flying lost power, risking a stall.

Sometimes it is possible to recover from a stall by regaining speed by increasing engine power or diving the aircraft, called 'reducing the angle of attack' in technical terms.

But on this occasion, Canadian Forces pilot Captain Brian Bews, who is now a major, faced a different challenge while on a media day for an airshow in Lethbridge, Canada in July 2010.

Pilot Brian Bews ejected just 1.8 seconds before impact.
YouTube / Martin-Baker

Stalls can happen for any number of reasons, and on this occasion Bews explained that the crash had happened after one of the engines on the CF-18 Hornet had failed.

Bews had attempted to compensate for the loss of thrust by going to full power on the other engine, but this pushed the plane too far in one direction, resulting in the terrifying angle that you can see in the video.

“Ejecting is such a rare occurrence that you don’t ever think you’ll use it,” Bews told Maclean's. “We always take the training very seriously, but in the back of your mind, you’re thinking: ‘Well, what are the chances?’”

The pilot added: "There really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think. When I saw the nose of the jet point at one of the big white tents at the airfield, I just thought: ‘I gotta get out.’ That’s when I pulled the handle and went for a ride.”

The plane exploded in a ball of flames after it hit the ground.
YouTube / Martin-Baker

It really was the narrowest of escapes.

The rocket-powered ejector seat shot Bews to safety just 1.8 seconds before the plane hit the ground and exploded in a fireball like something out of a Hollywood movie.

Bews added: “That wasn’t my day to go. There were a lot of things that could have gone differently, so I’m just happy to be here.”

Bews now teaches the military’s next generation of CF-18 fighter pilots, and emphasised that he tells them that when they strap into an ejector seat, they should do so assuming that they are going to have to use it.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube / Martin-Baker

Topics: News, World News, Canada