Are there any 'smart' ejection seats that eject automatically when an engine failure occurs or the aircraft gets into to a stall that can't be gotten out of, to save the pilot the decision of whether s/he should try and save the aircraft?

  • 13
    $\begingroup$ That is the last thing I would want as a pilot. Engine failures are not necessarily "eject" events. Stalls are relatively easy to get out of. There are a lot of situations where timing with regards to external environment are just as important as timing with respect to the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ Related: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/23654/… $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 18:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ymb1: Sounds like a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


The Soviet Yakovlev Yak-38 (and also the Yakovlev Yak-141) had an automatic ejection seat. The aircraft had two smaller engines for VTOL. If one of them failed, the seat ejected automatically once the aircraft rolled past 60$^\circ$. From airvectors.net:

The pilot sat on a K-36VM ejection seat, with the ejection performed automatically in takeoff or landing excursions using an "SK-EM" system. The SK-EM system was automatically engaged after the aircraft rose a few meters from the deck; it could be turned off manually, or would turn itself off if the vectored-thrust nozzles were more than 67 degrees to the vertical.

These ejection seats were first developed for Yakovlev Yak-36 (though never installed on them). The Yak- 36 had two side-by-engines, the failure of any one of which could flip the aircraft- this led to the development of an automatic ejection system that would activate aircraft seemed to be departing from safe vertical-flight parameters.

According to ejection-history.org.uk, 18 automatic ejections have been recorded in Yak-38s.


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