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Ejector seat nightmares


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#1 Ricky

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 07:27 AM

While I was at the Highland Aviation Museum (by Inverness Airport) I got the chance to sit in an EE Lightning cockpit, which was amazing (though hard to get in/out).

What really struck me, though, was when the ex-RAF aircrew who was running the place told me that the RAF discovered, fairly late in the aircraft's career, that if anybody reasonably tall ejected (ie: me, at 6 foot) then their knees would impact against the cockpit windshield frame as they ejected.

Ouch!


Do you know of any other ejection-related design flaws like that?

#2 tartle

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:13 AM

I was talking to a Lightning pilot recently and he told me they had a big tall American on an exchange who had to get out of a Lightning that had a catastrophic failure in the air. He ejected successfully, even though he knew of the shortcomings. They showed him afterwards what he had done was impossible by strapping him in a training mockup and pulling the seat up the rails... his knees jammed!

#3 ChrisMcD

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 03:18 PM

Do you know of any other ejection-related design flaws like that?


Well there was the Dornier 335 Pfiel

In Captain Eric Browns' book "Wings of the Luftwaffe" he mentions that the emergency canopy release system fitted to the Do335 had a slight design flaw. Before flying the Do335 he heard stories of the dead bodies of test pilots being found without their arms! The release handles were fixed to the canopy and not the inside of the cockpit so, as a firm grip was needed to jettison the canopy, the story was that the pilots' arms were taken off with the canopy!.

#4 Kutscha

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:50 PM

Total fabrication Chris.

Posted Image

The canopy release handles are just in front of the side framing.

WW2 German ejection seats used compressed air. If there wasn't enough air pressure, the seat would not clear the a/c getting stuck partway when it hit the airstream.

#5 Double T

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 09:29 PM

It was my understanding that the ejection-system in the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was downward-firing. I suspect there is a reason most/all contemporary systems eject the pilot out the top of the aircraft?
Also, reading text of US Naval aviators commenting about the Vietnam War era, pilots stated that you only ejected from an A-4 Skyhawk or F-8 Crusader once. The force was so great that the pilots' spine was compacted almost an inch after ejection.
Not at all like stepping out into the airstream of a prop-plane at low-speeds.

Tim

#6 Ricky

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 07:11 AM

the 'shotgun' ejector seats of the 50s and 60s tended to cause serious back injuries due to the sudden & intense acceleration. Modern seats have a more gradual acceleration, which mostly solves the issue

#7 ChrisMcD

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 07:59 PM

Total fabrication Chris.


Hi Kutscha,

I'll take the word of the expert who saw it with his own eyes and flew the plane if it's all right with you.

Regards

ChrisMcD

#8 Kutscha

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 01:44 AM

Chris, photos don't lie.They clearly show the canopy release handles attached to the fuselage and not the canopy.

marked "notabwurf" > jettison on the right side handle.

To large to post, but from a German Do335 document
http://www.cockpitin...it/12 Kopie.jpg

#9 Ricky

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:24 AM

Silly question - I assume the position of the handles was changed after the fault was discovered - is the picture of a later plane?

#10 Kutscha

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 12:02 PM

Silly question - I assume the position of the handles was changed after the fault was discovered - is the picture of a later plane?


The models are stated on the document. Photos of the V1 show the handles in the same place.

How many Spitfire pilots lost an arm as the emergency release was attached to the canopy?




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