March 31, 2021 - Our Grasshopper Club recognizes aircrew who have ejected in a Collins Aerospace seat and we recently inducted another member. Currently, ACES seats have saved 685 lives.
Chris "Elroy" Stricklin is awake every morning at sunrise. Regardless of the day of the week or location, he throws open the curtains and watches the sun slowly peek over the horizon to reveal a new day. His morning ritual began more than 16 years ago — on Sept. 15, 2003 — the day after he ejected from his U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 fighter jet in an ACES II® ejection seat. He propelled out of the aircraft less than a second before it crashed in a massive, trailing explosion. His brush with death happened during his takeoff maneuver — Max Climb with Split S — before 85,000 aviation enthusiasts at an air show in Mountain Home, Idaho. To date, it's the most documented ejection in U.S. Air Force history.