Yesterday a Czech L-39 training jet went missing over eastern Washginton. ISTR that the FAA banned ejection seats in civilly registered aircraft back in the 1980s. I don’t remember their reasons, but I assume they wanted to ensure that pilots didn’t capriciously punch out of their aircraft over populated areas. If that was the reason, I can see two scenarios: First, no pilot is willingly going to eject out of of an aircraft that may have cost him a couple millions of dollars (the Soviet Bloc aircraft are considerably cheaper); or Second, some pilots may risk life and limb and eject to collect the insurance.
The pilot of the L-39 radioed that he was having “control problems” just before he disappeared from radar. Seems like a couple of ejection seats may have been useful.
Do I remember correctly that the FAA banned ejection seats? If so, is the ban still in effect, and could a pilot get a waiver to legally have an ejection seat?