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An investigation is under way following the death of a navigator who ejected from an RAF Tornado fighter aircraft.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the man left the aircraft during an "inverted roll" on a routine test flight over Norfolk on Wednesday.
Another interesting feature (for a two-seat airplane, only one of which seats had access to the actual controls), the ejection seats were completely independent - a pilot could eject and leave his (non-pilot) bombardier behind. I don’t know that this ever actually happened, but I do no of one case in which the bombardier was partially ejected, but the rocket motor didn’t fire - he got stuck there in the wind blast, until his pilot landed the jet on the aircraft carrier.
Initial analysis has determined that the pilot's lapbelt became unfastened when SB #2 rolled inverted, causing the pilot to fall out of his seat and lose control of the aircraft.
The investigation has not found any pertinent technical deficiencies with the ejection system and has focussed on what actions the student pilot may have taken, which accidently initiated the ejection sequence. Immediate preventive measures taken as a result of this incident include briefing all pilots on the requirement to meticulously adhere to the proper strap-in procedure. The investigation is on-going, however there are indications that a communications cord may have been routed through the student pilot's ejection seat handle during the strap-in process.