8 sqn

Mirage V BD

BD 07

19th November 1987

3 wing tac

Pilot - front seat

Captain Jean Boudringhien

Pilot - rear seat

Captain Craenebrouck

                                                                         photo via  Jean Boudringhien


Jean Boudringhien
in front of the F-16 he flew until 2000


 Below Today, 2006, Jean flies a Falcon 900


"Thank You! Martin-Baker"


19th November1987 is a date etched into the memory of Jean Boudringhien.

Back then, aged 29, he was a Captain in the Belgian Air Force based at EBLG (Bierset).

During the afternoon he and Captain  Craenebrouck, also from 8 Sqn 3 Wing TAC took off from the air base flying a two seat Mirage 5 BD, a double-seat  version of the A model, on a routine flying mission. Weather conditions at 8,000 feet were overcast and very windy.

On the return approach to the air base problems began.

The landing gear did not extend in normal mode, in alternate mode only the nose and left main extended, the right main remained locked in the up position. Despite all efforts to correct situation including manoeuvres at high speed and pulling g's the right undercarriage refused to move.

With asymmetrical gear belly landing the Mirage was not feasible. The crew's remaining option was to eject. They decided on conducting a controlled bail out over a low populated area. Flying the aircraft through the Ardenne skies and changing direction several times to choose the best area to eject. Finally with the aircraft flying level  at 2500 feet, 260 knots over Comblain au Pont, Belgium the two crew ejected. The Mirage continued for a few moment before crashing in a field at Comblain-Fairon.

Captain Craenebrouck in the rear seat had ejected first followed moments later by Captain Boudringhien who initiated his own ejection.

Their SEMMB produced Martin-Baker Mk. IV ejection seats carried them from the aircraft  but the canopy had not separated the aircraft as advertised

Craenebrouck went through the front part of the canopy suffering a severe arm wound.

Boudringhien was more fortunate since when his seat left the aircraft,  the canopy was gone. Temporal distortion stretched time  and the events of a few seconds were played out in slow motion. He sustained a vertebrae compression during the initial seat movement up the guide rail, a common injury in ejection, and within seconds was safely being lowered to the ground under a fully deployed parachute.

His comment on the event many years later, as that of  so many others like him, being, "Thank You! Martin-Baker"


Sincere thanks to Jean Boudringhien (BAF) for his permission to include his ejection details
November 2006