Air force pilot instructor badly injured when seat ejects

Air force pilot instructor badly injured when seat ejects

Alpha Jet (photo courtesy of the air force)
Alpha Jet (photo courtesy of the air force)

LOEI - An air force instructor was seriously injured after he ejected from a two-seat Alpha Jet at low altitude on Wednesday morning during a training flight out of Wing 23 in Udon Thani province.

The trainee pilot later landed the aircraft safely. The incident is being investigated.

The instructor, identified as Sqn Ldr Sukhothai Srisomsai, was ejected from the aircraft above Ban Charoensuk village in tambon Na Din Dam of Loei's Muang district at about 11.15am.

The aircraft was at low altitude and the seat's parachute had not opened when he hit the ground, Royal Thai Air Force spokesman AVM Pongsak Semachai said.

Sqn Ldr Sukhothai was in the co-pilot's seat. The trainee, F/O Phuri Jullapallop, landed the plane safely at Wing 23 in Udon Thani.

Wing 23 commander Gp Capt Nithas Yupraphat thanked local people and police for quickly going to the injured instructor's aid.

In 1999 the Chuan Leekpai government accepted the German Defence Ministry's offer to sell Thailand decommissioned but refurbished Alpha Jet light attack planes. The air force bought 25 of the aircaft for 1.2 billion baht.

Senior air force officers at that time were split over the procurement decision. Opponents were concerned that the planes were too old. Germany sold each plane for 1 million baht and quoted repairs at 49 million baht each.

The air force also uses Alpha Jet planes for rainmaking.

The ejector seat which carried pilot instructor Sqn Ldr Sukhothai Srisomsai to the ground, in Loei's Muang district (photo by  disaster mitigation office in Loei)

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