A bear named “Yogi” was ejected from a USAF B-58 to test the Hustler’s escape capsule 54 years ago today

Mar 21 2016 - 7 Comments

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

On Mar. 21, 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.

Although the Air Force celebrates the test conducted 54 years ago today 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

  • a_c_eplym

    “The bear is alive! The bear is, er, very alive, actually, help!”

  • KLD

    Why a bear and not a chimp? Was it because of the greater weight of the bear?

  • B-Sabre

    I strongly suspect the bear was anesthetized for the flight.

    • BusterB

      …and very securely strapped in.

  • TractorEngineer

    Woo! That’s taking one for the team!

  • Silent Hunter

    So, he was faster than the average bear?

  • BusterB

    Somethin like ” you’ll get all the pic-i-nic baskets you want when you land.”