It was the 21st of June 2004 when the Mirage 5 “Finger” squadron from the Grupo 6 de Caza of the Argentine Air Force was deploying for a live ordnance exercise in Rio Cuarto Air Force Base.
I was the leader of an element. The cruise was uneventful, it was planned to arrive at destination and perform an overhead pattern in order to reduce weight to land . We entered in closed formation until initial where we split and flew a low approach, after that, as I was entering base leg of Rwy 05 in SAOC the engine quit. Rpms were winding down in a dramatic way. I was 2000 ft above field elevation and with 210 Kias. The city was right in front of me so while I was trying to understand my status, I decided to continue banking towards the runway for a clear area. Everything was similar to a simulator session, I switched the relight knob, nothing happened except speed dropping and pitching up in an unusual attitude. All I was able to communicate was “se clavó el motor”, as I was trying to determinate if my engine was relighting I saw the speed at 150 Kias when the normal speed should be at least 190, my left hand pulled from the bottom handle. The first thing I thought was that It did not work, one second later I was rocketed in a 12G acceleration. My head was pushed do wnward and I could see the plane crashing behind me and felt the heat from the explosion. As I was trying to see upward If my canopy was inflated I saw roof houses in front of me, I was very low and have to concentrate on landing as soft as I could.
My first sign of living was the canopy trying to drag me due to the blowing wind. I stood up and could not believed the astonishing situation seeing the explosion of my Mirage and tried quickly to assess my healthy condition.
I was taken to hospital and confirmed that everything was ok.
From data that I have I believed that I ejected from 700 feet above field elevation with a speed of 150 Kias.
I served in the Argentine Air Force from 1991 until 2007 when I retired as a Capitan.
Nowadays I am an airline capitan flying Airbus 320 for LATAM Argentina. I am married to Myri and have two children Felipe and Sofía and live in Buenos Aires.
Capitán (R) Sebastián “CHUMBO” González Iturbe, Ejectee #5398