An Air Force instructor pilot at Sheppard Air Force Base died when the ejection seat in their T-6A Texan fired while on the ground. Photo by 2nd Lt. Jonathan Soferr.

An Air Force instructor pilot with the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas died overnight from injuries sustained when their T-6A Texan II ejection seat activated during ground operations here May 13, the Air Force said in a release.

The T-6A is a propeller-driven trainer that is the first plane student pilots officially are taught to fly at Undergraduate Pilot Training, or UPT. All Air Force pilots, regardless of the plane they will eventually fly, begin their flight training at UPT at Sheppard of another training base.

The mishap is the latest in a series of issues with the T-6A’s ejection seats. The Air Force grounded over 70 T-6s, alo in 2022 after defective explosive cartridges were found in the seats.

Sheppard is among the busiest Air Force bases in the world, launching 250 flights each day for UPT training and a follow-on course, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals. IFF is the qualifying course for future pilots of fighter jets and other high-performance aircraft. Students fly the T-38 in that course.

Sheppard also hosts flight training for 14 NATO countries through the Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

Sheppard is in north Texas adjacent to the city of Wichita Falls on the Oklahoma state border.

An investigation into the cause of the incident is underway. Per Air Force policy, the pilot’s name is being withheld until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin.

The post Air Force pilot killed when ejection seat fires on the ground appeared first on Task & Purpose.