Forgive me if my question sounds more like a rule of engagement for aerial combat than aviation technique. I was wondering that is it ok, in a dogfight, for a victorious pilot to shoot a defeated pilot's parachute to kill him. Are there any records of this type of event?

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    $\begingroup$ That would be terrible if someone did shoot the pilot after he was ejected out of the aircraft. The reason this rule is out here is because the pilot can cause no harm if he is not in the jet. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Sep 5, 2015 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


You question is a question of rules of engagement. Shooting down a downed pilot in a dogfight is not only not OK, but also illegal.

According to Article 42 of Geneva Conventions,

No person parachuting from an aircraft in distress shall be made the object of attack during his descent.

Of course, war is war and this kind of attacks have been practiced by pilots of almost all air forces, though it should be noted that in most cases, this practice was specifically prohibited by their high commands.

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    $\begingroup$ That's specifically Article 42 of Additional Protocol 1, which was not part of the original 4 Geneva Conventions and has not been ratified by as many states. However, this specific provision appears to be customary international law as well. $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Sep 5, 2015 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Still the Conventions cover most of the international conflicts and I thought it would be appropriate to quote it here. $\endgroup$
    – aeroalias
    Sep 5, 2015 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I was just pointing it out to be more specific. $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Sep 5, 2015 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ The wikipedia page on this subject is actually pretty good. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Sep 5, 2015 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ There are numerous recorded instances from the Second World War of pilots being killed after bailing out of their aircraft, this was very common particularly in the later war years. $\endgroup$ Aug 28, 2018 at 15:28

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