I keyed the ICS and said ‘prepare to eject’ to my B/N. At the coastline I said “Eject, Eject, Eject”. My B/N went first. I felt the heat of his seat’s rocket and the windblast as he went through the canopy. Our jet was now in a slight descent passing 700ft AGL. I straightened my back, put my feet flat, elbows in and pulled with my left hand, taking my right hand off the control stick and putting it on my left wrist at the last moment.
Once through the canopy I tumbled and immediately separated from my seat. I felt the opening shock of the parachute and spent the next moments going through my IROK procedures. I looked for and found my B/N’s chute approximately 100 yards downwind. I remember seeing the moon, the beach and the city lights.
Time compressed while in the cockpit. Once in my chute time returned to normal. Although I was in my chute for no more than 30 seconds I can still clearly recall the sights and sounds. Looking down I saw roofs, roads, cars and trees. I saw the high power lines, leading from the nearby sub-station. I saw people running and pointing up at me, yelling. I passed overhead the power lines, missed the roads and rooftops and went directly through a 50ft oak tree centered in an apartment complex on the corner of Artic and 24th street. The seat pan shielded me as I broke branches on my way through the tree. My decent stopped 6 inched above the ground dangling in front of parked car.
We both were flying again within the week.