In the 1950s, pototoes weren’t an option. Animals were the only option, particularly bears. It was the reign of the B-58 Hustle, the first operational supersonic jet bomber capable of Mach 2 flight. When the Air Force, together with Convair, tested the jet’s ejector seats, they chose an unlikely specimen to do the job – bears. Yes, bears that have been drugged, to be more precise.
As you can see in the rather lengthy video above, bears were used to test the Hustler’s ejection system development. These were Himalayan and American black bears, and during the series of tests conducted, they suffered broken bones, internal injuries, muscle damage, and possibly some trauma. But thankfully, none of them were killed. Really?
To pacify the bears, the researchers sedated them with drugs and strapped them to the capsule. These capsules were ejected at various speeds and altitudes to determine the best results. Although reports are saying that no bears were killed in the tests, a while paper from the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council reveals that euthanasia was a part of the entire examination. Apparently this was required in order to do an autopsy.