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Statistically, the chances of you being in an aircraft incident are extremely low, and once these seats are in place, you would never have to move them or do maintenance.

The only difficult task is redesigning the fuselage to support ejection, I assume.

Has this ever been discussed, and if so, is there any action being taken on it?

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    $\begingroup$ The only difficult task is redesigning the fuselage to support ejection, I assume. if that was true, don't you think this would've been done already? $\endgroup$ – egid Feb 28 '18 at 1:00
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    $\begingroup$ Redesigning the fuselage to support ejection is, itself, a gigantic undertaking, with huge safety impacts. Passenger planes do not have canopies that can be quickly detached in case of emergency. Introducing such a feature, which would have to maintain pressure and cover most of the aircraft's roof, would be quite the design problem, and if it was possible at all, would introduce the risk of new kinds of failures that may very well risk more lives than the very few ejection seats could possibly save. $\endgroup$ – Zach Lipton Feb 28 '18 at 1:02
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    $\begingroup$ Also, citation needed for "you would never have to move them or do maintenance." Everything needs maintenance, and surely seats with explosives attached to them need careful maintenance indeed. $\endgroup$ – Zach Lipton Feb 28 '18 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ You are also going to have to do some thinking about how the ejection mechanism is going to be triggered. If by the passenger, how do you stop them from ejecting accidentally (or on purpose, for suicide or thrills)? Will the plane and all the non-ejected passengers survive an ejection? If it's triggered by the pilot, how do you guarantee that everyone's in their seat, with arms & legs in the correct position? How about babies carried on parents' laps? And suppose everyone - maybe 400+ people in a jumbo - is ejected, what then? 400 tangled parachutes? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 28 '18 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ Are you including the problem of each passenger needing to also have a parachute in your question? Have you ever been a passenger on a commuter aircraft? $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 28 '18 at 15:17
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Ejection seats are heavy. Even if the seats had zero initial cost, the weight alone would probably double the cost of every airline ticket.

The flying public don’t want to pay for a couple of inches of leg room. They certainly won’t want to pay for a safety item that would probably never get used.

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Aside from the weight and expense issues, consider that an ejection is a very dangerous thing to do... for example, the ACES 2 seat used in most US military aircraft has around an 85% success rate. The definition of success is, the person survived, quite possibly with injuries.

Current ejection technology requires the person to be tightly strapped into the seat with a full six point harness.

An ejection is a very violent event. You get slammed with 20G's when the rocket goes off. If you're not in top physical condition, as military pilots are, your spine will be damaged. If your head isn't held perfectly inline with your spine, your neck will be fractured. If your arms or legs strike any part of the aircraft on the way out, they will be ripped off. And you still have to make a parachute landing, where you hit the ground at about the same speed as jumping off of a fifteen foot ladder. Many military pilots report a loss of one half to one inch of height after an ejection, due to compression of the spine.

And freaky things can still happen. When Chuck Yeager ejected from an out of control NF104, he separated from the seat, and then slammed into the bottom of the seat, where the burning residue from the rocket motor set his flight helmet on fire. When an SR71 was lost while trying to launch a D21 drone, the RSO (back seater) died when he landed in the ocean and drowned.

So, imagine the average civilian, blasted out of an airliner. Their neck is fractured, they probably lost an arm or a leg on the way out, they slam into the ground and fracture their pelvis, and the parachute catches the wind and drags them across the ground for some distance... if they survive all of that, they'll die from their injuries before rescue teams can arrive.

Ejection is a measure of last resort in a military aircraft that can be expected to suffer battle damage, for a military pilot in top physical condition, tightly strapped in, and trained on what to do, when it's either maybe get killed or definitely get killed if you don't eject.

For the average civilian, in the safest form of mass transit, it would just be a different way to die.

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  • $\begingroup$ The proof of the pudding would be: Do military transport planes (say, C130 Hercules) have ejection seats for the pilots? No, they do not. So even the pilots who can be assumed to stay in their seats as opposed to the average passenger don't get one; and forget about those drunks going to or returning sunburnt from party destinations. What will you do when walking through the aisle when suddenly all 555 chairs around you explode out of the roof? What will you do on a 2-layer A380 (or even a 747 jumbo), crash the lower layer through the top layer? $\endgroup$ – user3445853 Jun 20 '18 at 17:47

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