Pilot Ejected From Airplane by Mistake
Student wasn't wearing a seat belt when aircraft nose-dived
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2013 3:30 PM CDT
This screen grab from a WRCB-TV report shows the plane that ejected the student pilot.   (WRCB-TV)

(Newser) – Freak accident in Tennessee: A student pilot was ejected from his plane during a lesson and fell about 2,500 feet to his death, NBC News reports. The man, as yet unidentified, flew out of the plane during a malfunction yesterday because he wasn't wearing a seat belt. Neither was the instructor, but he somehow managed to hold on when the two-seater nose-dived and its canopy flew open. The instructor then steadied the plane and landed it safely.

The student, an experienced pilot who wanted to get better, had bought the Zodiac 601XL—a single-engine kit aircraft—from the family of a man who died in a plane crash last year. The body of the new owner was found east of Chattanooga this morning.

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Showing 3 of 52 comments
Apr 1, 2013 10:54 AM CDT
For all of you incredulous folks wondering how the pilot and student weren't wearing seatbelts, maybe you should instead question the accuracy of the report you are reading. The Instructor is my brother. Both pilots were wearning a 5 point harness. The student harness failed. Wait for the NTSB report. The information that neither pilot was wearing a seat belt came from an interim (and inexperienced) local fire chief who showed up at the airport and assumed that the pilots were unbelted and than foolishly reported this to local news. This person was neither qualified to give the statement and has no involvment in the investigation. It was, however, a freak accident.
Mar 31, 2013 10:19 PM CDT
Neither one had a seat belt on? That's amazing.
Mar 31, 2013 8:15 PM CDT
Darwin award winner.