Canadian Capt. Brian Bews ejected from his CF-18 just moments before it impacted the ground at the Lethbridge County Airport in Alberta, Canada. CNN.com carries a professional video of the crash captured from the reviewing stand. In an interesting irony, the music playing from the flight line speakers is “Stayin’ Alive.”
High resolution photos of the incident taken by Ian Martens of the Lethbridge Herald show the ejection sequence in amazingly precise detail.
The first picture shows the seat leaving the aircraft:
You can see Bews head hunched over, which is a fairly natural reaction but is a dangerous position to be in. Fortunately, he escaped with minor injuries. Note, too, that though the aircraft is in a high bank angle, the seat leaves the jet in an upward trajectory. Most modern ejection seats are “self-righting” in order to increase the distance from the ground prior to the chute opening.
In the second photograph, Bews separates from the seat and begins to get an inflated parachute, fractions of a second after pulling the handle.
The remaining photographs show the multi-ton, multi-million dollar airplane convert itself into spare parts and pieces: