A bear named “Yogi” was ejected from a USAF B-58 to test the Hustler’s escape capsule on this day in 1962

Mar 21 2016 - 7 Comments

“Yogi” was ejected at 35,000 feet, 870 mph.

On Mar. 21, 1962, a 2-year old black bear named “Yogi” was ejected from a U.S. Air Force B-58 during tests of the Hustler’s escape capsule.

The bear was ejected at 35,000 feet from the USAF bomber flying at supersonic speed (870 mph): “Yogi” survived the test and landed unharmed 7 minutes, 49 seconds later. Even though the bear was not killed in the test, “Yogi” was later euthanized, so that doctors could examine internal organs for signs of damage.

Although the Air Force celebrates the test conducted in 1962 as the first ejection of a living creature from a supersonic aircraft, the first live creature to eject from a supersonic jet was George F. Smith, a test pilot of North American Aviation.

Smith ejected at Mach 1.05 from an F-100 Super Sabre off Laguna Beach, California, on Feb. 26, 1955 after experiencing a flight control failure. He spent 5 days in coma and eventually recovered in spite of various injuries.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force