What is the limit of the ACES II for the F-16, in terms of altitude and airspeed for safe ejection?

The following video tells the story of an F-15 pilot who ejected at supersonic speed and barely survived.

In general, it also seems that ejection, even under controlled circumstances is not a trivial matter:

I'm curious what the safe ejection speed and altitude is for an F-16, with the ACES II ejection seat.

I've read about the ACES II here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACES_II and watched a documentary about ejection seats in general.

It seems to me that supersonic ejections should be done with some form of capsule to protect the pilot, and not allow the pilot to be exposed directly to the atmosphere.

I can imagine that the manual for the F-16/ACES II provides some kind of graph that describes the safety of ejection as a function of airspeed and altitude, assuming the same orientation of the plane (although the ACES II is known for being able to eject safely with the plane inverted, with a certain minimum altitude).

As a bonus question: What does the F-16 manual specify as a procedure, if ejection is not safe? Does the manual call for the pilot to eject anyway, at any speed, and pray for the best? Or does it call for trying to mitigate the situation without ejection, when this is not safe?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I imagine one would eject no matter the risks... given one usually only thinks about ejecting when remaining in the aircraft implies imminent death. $\endgroup$
    – SnakeDoc
    Sep 12, 2019 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ You eject when the alternative is crashing. Ejecting is always safer than crashing. Neither is considered "safe". $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Sep 12, 2019 at 22:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ True 'nuf both comments above, but all ejection seat aircraft have a controlled ejection procedure if the aircraft is controllable, yet doomed, and death is not mere seconds away. Time permitting, to reduce risk perform as much of the following as possible: Level the wings and arrest the rate of descent, slow to minimum controllable airspeed, squawk emergency and/or get out a mayday call, point the aircraft towards an unpopulated area, jettison the canopy, assume the proper body position, eject. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2019 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ Top Gun had an excellent illustration of why even ejecting at slower speeds is dangerous $\endgroup$
    – Machavity
    Sep 12, 2019 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ @CarloFelicione disagree on dupe, this is a lot more specific to airspeed. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Sep 13, 2019 at 6:16


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