Pilot Ejects From Out Of Control Plane, It Goes On To Gently Land Without Him

If my younger years spent playing flight simulators are anything to go by, ejecting from one's plane always results in it crashing into the ground and exploding. Shock? Horror? No, not really. In real life, however, all sorts of crazy things can happen, including an out-of-control plane, sans pilot, making a gentle landing all by itself.

As the video above from the National Museum of the US Air Force retells, such an occurrence transpired in February 1970, when an F-106, piloted by retired US Air Force Major Gary Foust, decided it was going to do more spinning than flying, forcing Foust to bail.

What happened next was entirely unexpected, give how cruel gravity and physics can be on objects such as unpiloted jets:

I finally, after being prompted by my wingman, ejected at approximately 8000 feet [2438m] above the ground. Immediately after I ejected, the plane went ... nose down and recovered from the spin and flew off, flew off a number of miles away, and landed by itself in a little town by the name of Big Sandy. There was about six inches of snow on the ground [and] it was in a wheat field, probably skidded some couple of hundred yards or more and came to rest.

The plane was eventually repaired and returned to service. It also earned the nickname "The Cornfield Bomber", which, as Foust notes, doesn't make much sense — the F-106 is an interceptor and it landed in a wheat field. But hey, at least it sounds good.

[YouTube, via The Awesomer]

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