103

I would want to build in a way for the plane to try and save itself if possible (to save money) by auto-landing Had the situation allowed saving the airplane the human pilot would definitely have tried that first. The fact that a trained fighter jet pilot decided to eject from an aircraft knowing that the ejection was a last resort and could be deadly, ...


59

To add some context to the other answers... Ejection is not a safe thing to do. The two most popular ejection systems today, the ACES II and Martin-Baker, have around a 90-92% success rate... the definition of success being the person lived. Most ejections result in some injury to the person, as it is a fairly violent activity, with a brief 20g impact when ...


54

If the front seat ejected first, the drag would probably bring him too close in the trajectory of the rear seat, thus making a collision of both probable. Since the rear seat is ejected first, it experiences drag earlier than the front seat and will thus not have an increased probability of hitting it.


46

Whatever it was programmed to do at the moment the pilot ejected. Ejection seats are complex enough without integrating special processing of the event into the autopilot. Since the autopilot can't land even an intact plane on its own, there's nothing it could do to save the plane. Some ejections are indeed performed from aircraft that could potentially be ...


45

Ejection Seats are not a free ticket out. They are incredibly violent and rough on your body. This newspaper article has a more chilling quote from an interview: About one in three will get a spinal facture, due to the force when the seat is ejected - the gravitational force is 14 to 16 times normal gravity and it might be applied at 200G per second. ...


43

In general, in aircraft with tandem seating, the rear seat (having the Radar Officer) ejects first, followed by the forward (pilot) seat, after a delay of ~0.3 seconds. This is done for a few reasons: If the pilot seat is ejected first (or both are ejected simultaneously), there is a possibility that the pilot seat may collide (as it will be dragged ...


43

These are part of the foot restraint system fitted to the seats used in the SR-71, later U-2 and some Space Shuttles. (They're all derived from the same basic design). The spurs engage in two ball nipples that protrude from the lower part of the seat. The nipples are connected via cables to reels beneath the rear of the seat which pull the pilots feet in ...


40

Some sources I found claiming the event was real: A flat spin creates a low-pressure area and stalls the canopy when ejected. Producers wanted a midair crash but based this accident on a real-life incident instead. (source) The way Goose died was actually based on a real life incident that happened to a 14 crew in the Navy. Don't remember the ...


40

In a word, yes. There is a switch which controls this and the default position is "both". If any handle is pulled (pull down over the face or the one between your legs), then both seats fire. If solo, the switch is turned to "solo" so that the rear seat is not ejected and the front seat gets to leave a little bit quicker. If the switch is left on solo, ...


38

Many years ago I read about the Kamov-50 helicopter family* being the first helicopters equipped with ejection seats. And Wikipedia verifies my memory: It is the world's first operational helicopter with a rescue ejection system, which allows the pilot to escape at all altitudes and speeds. In the same article for the same helicopter it is mentioned that ...


35

Aviation week did a bit on the plane last year "In spite of its considerable vintage, the sturdy British attack aircraft has all the attributes required for a stable, high-speed test platform" says Andy Gent, Martin-Baker’s head of flying and chief pilot. “From a test perspective the Meteor is ideal. The tail boom is fairly long and the fin is ...


26

Air forces use special training rigs rather than real ejection seats. Example video Plenty of pilots have survived ejection (Wikipedia says "As of 20 June 2011 ... the number of lives saved by Martin-Baker products was 7,402 from 93 air forces") The types of injury are illustrated by this example The ejection seat has been responsible for saving ...


26

No, there are no companies offering ejection seat experiences, for many reasons: Cost: Ejection seats are expensive, base costs are somewhere around $100,000 per seat. Seats can't generally be re-used, therefore the cost of an experience is going to be well over that No platform: There are airplanes that are designed to eject someone and keep flying safely, ...


23

It depends on the ejection seat. Modern zero-zero ejection seats are designed to be usable at zero speed, zero altitude. Older ejection seats had different minimums which varied from model to model. On a side note, the early F-104 ejection seats required quite a bit of altitude to deploy properly, since the pilot exited through the bottom of the aircraft. ...


23

Well to me it seems that in your question you consider the helicopter flying straight and level and clear of any terrain. Well that's not true so let's take each case separately: Eject forward That seems like the most dangerous option to me. What if you are into CFIT? The ejection system will actually "spit" you into terrain with your helicopter's ...


21

Ejecting at 1000 knots means ejection into supersonic flow. Not even the Zvezda K-36, the indisputably best ejection seat around, is rated for that. For this kind of speed, whole enclosures have been designed which did not work all too well when they had to be used. For training, there are simulators to prepare pilots for that hopefully rare occurrence (the ...


20

This question has been asked before on the Net, and there are some who say it happened once in advanced training operations. Unfortunately, I found no detailed reference. For the likelihood of the events which lead to the ejection sequence, see this question. The ejection sequence is at least factually wrong when showing both seats being ejected almost ...


19

Summary If the ejection seat is inoperable on a US military aircraft, the aircraft will be grounded 100% of the time. I'm sure you could come up with some weird hypothetical "end-of-the-world" scenario where you'd still take off, but that isn't reality today. F/A 18 E/F Checklist Procedures Interior Checklist After strapping into the jet, the ...


18

Yes. In general, the Weapons System Officer (WSO) can initiate ejection sequence and usually has control over it (of course it varies from aircraft to aircraft). From the interview of LCDR Joe "Smokin" Ruzicka, a F-14 Radar Intercept officer (RIO): Both crew member's [sic] relied on each other- even down to the RIO having control of the ejection sequence- ...


17

It depends on the seat. Most modern seats, including the ACES II system common in US Fighter Jets, fall away from the pilot at a pre-determined altitude. [src] Once out of the plane, a drogue gun in the seat fires a metal slug that pulls a small parachute, called a drogue parachute, out of the top of the chair. This slows the person's rate of descent and ...


17

While the F-111 had a custom build escape capsule integrated with the cockpit, escape capsule designs have been used in the past. One notable type was the Stanley Corp. Ejection Capsule. It was a special type of ejection seat which used a pressurized clamshell-type enclosure which could be deployed rapidly once the ejection process had been initiated. It ...


16

Yes, modern ejection seats have rocket motors, but they are only for propelling the seat away from the aircraft and upwards, high enough for safe parachute deployment. An escape from enemy territory is not possible with them. They are controlled by a guiding system inside the seat, but not by the pilot. Ejection by itself is stressful enough, controlling ...


16

Image source The Sikorsky S-72 Rotor Systems Research Aircraft had ejection seats, as shown on this video. Like the Ka-50, it blew the rotor blades off first before ejecting. This article mentions a crash of a Mi-28 in which one pilot died: The Mi-28 was supposedly designed with an ejection seat system that fires its crew out the side and downward.


15

I don't know anything about minimum periods - but that may depend on the air force in question. (Maybe someone else knows.) Medical complications can arise years after an ejection. A fairly well known case I've heard about is the astronaut Michael Collins, who ejected from an aircraft in the 1950s. More than ten years later he started to notice leg ...


14

The reason the F-111 has an ejection capsule is pretty weird in itself- its there because USN wanted it. In 1960, USAF asked for an aircraft capable of supersonic flight for 400 miles, and capable of operating from short/unprepared fields and capable of crossing Atlantic unrefuelled through Specific Operational Requirement (SOR) 183. At the same time, USN ...


13

Pilots have successfully ejected at negative altitudes in a handful of instances, after being forced to ditch in water. Documented evidence exists that pilots of the US and Indian Navies have performed this feat. Also: I once read, but cannot now locate, the citation awarded a pilot of the USAF for the world record lowest altitude successful (i.e. the ...


13

I ejected from an FJ-4 at 17,000 ft at 410 kts IAS. I was very briefly unconscious. When I woke up I was head down and looking up between my legs at an object drifting away from me which I saw as my parachute back pack. I could see the tabs down each side side of the pack as well as the pin attached to the D ring. I fell about 13,000 feet before I looked at ...


13

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 ...


13

When I was flying the KC-135 tankers - A model and Q models - all crew members had parachutes, and all parachute packs had supplemental oxygen bottles that were good for at least 10 minutes - which was enough time to descend to the point where you did not need supplemental oxygen. If you had to bail out, it would be through the crew entry hatch, on the port ...


12

I was a pilot in the Tomcat for 1,800 hours 1975-85. We actually had a written and memorized procedure that when ejecting from a FLAT SPIN you did not just pull the ejection seat handle(s). The canopy was to be MANUALLY "jettisoned" FIRST via the Canopy Jettison handle. AFTER doing so, you THEN reached for the seat ejection handles and pull to eject. ...


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