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Ejection seats

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Old 21st Oct 2018, 15:16
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Ejection seats

Not sure this is the correct forum. But how old was the oldest person ever to eject? Roughly what injuries did they sustain?
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Old 21st Oct 2018, 20:58
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Well, I'm certainly not but I can assure you it was a very smooth ride.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 01:45
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dook How long did you have between realising that something was wrong and deciding that it was time to go?
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 11:36
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Very little time - the time it took to zoom climb from 250 feet agl to about 2500 feet.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 12:30
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The most common ejection injury is a compression fracture of vertebrae but with rocket assisted seats these are rare. More likely injuries occur when meeting terra firma again. Obviously, high speed ejections are another matter. In my case, with a rocket seat, I did have a compression fracture but I was in my mid 40s at the time and I broke an ankle on landing. No after effects to date. As to thinking time, it rather depends on whether it is premeditated or not. Again in my case I was back on terra firma 49secs after starting my take off roll and am very glad that I did not have (or need!) time to think about it.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 14:03
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That indicates, dook, that something went wrong very quickly after rotation and you had to get to 2,500 before pulling the blind? May one ask what machine you were compelled to leave?
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 14:35
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It wasn't after rotation - it was over half an hour into the trip and at 450 knots. The zoom was to get away from the ground and kill speed. Both engines had failed.

There was no blind to pull - it was Mk9 seat and there was only a lower handle.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:34
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My one and only ride on a live seat was in a Marshall's Vampire at Shawbury in 1969. I still vividly remember being warned, as part of the seat checkout in the Safety Equipment Bay, that because it was powered by explosives and not rockets (a Mk. 3?), I would probably damage my spine if I had to eject!
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 16:31
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I've only ever flown one aircraft with an ejector seat; the JP. Never had to use it, thank goodness. I was told however, that back injuries were less common in the RN. Because of the catapult launch and cable recovery, the pilots were strapped in much tighter that the general RAF pilot would be. One from my South Cerney course was demonstrating the rig, which was, I believe, a one-third charge. There was a mis-fire, and he loosened his straps while they sorted it out. Sadly for him, the seat fired, and he damaged his back such that he couldn't proceed to pilot training.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 10:06
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My one and only ride on a live seat was in a Marshall's Vampire at Shawbury in 1969. I still vividly remember being warned, as part of the seat checkout in the Safety Equipment Bay, that because it was powered by explosives and not rockets (a Mk. 3?), I would probably damage my spine if I had to eject!
Yes, the seat in the T11 was cartridge powered - from long before the days of rocket seats. I trained on the T11; the seat was MB, Mk3 according to their website. It was not as capable as some other Mk 3 seats, having a 60ft/sec gun which meant you needed 200 ft agl and 120 kt IAS in level flight. Other Mk3 seats (e.g. Hunter) were fitted with an 80ft/sec gun, which gave 90 kt ground level capability. We were told that the Vampire structure was not strong enough for the more powerful gun.

The 80ft/sec gun regularly produced minor spinal injuries, but I suspect the 60ft/sec version was a little kinder.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 10:15
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I have several friends who have used the 80 ft/sec seat and none of them suffered any injuries.

The most important aspect was posture upon ejection.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 11:16
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Having seen Dook's post 11 above I realise that my post 5 was somewhat misleading in that it may have implied that ejection injuries are common. They are not and I too know of many colleagues and friends who have had injury free ejections. What I should have said is that if an injury is sustained during a pre-meditated and other than high speed ejection it is more likely to be a compression fracture. Dook is absolutely right - posture is the key. However, age is also a factor. As the vertebrae discs lose their flexibilty, their ability to absorb a rapid acceleration reduces.
We members of the Martin-Baker club are eternally grateful for their life-saving seats. My apologies for my potentially misleading post. It would be interesting to know though who the oldest successful ejectee was and how he fared (I am assuming that the oldest will be a male).
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 12:26
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According to the ballistics boffins at Boscombe, my parachute opened at 190ft agl and the seat was never travelling upwards with respect to the ground after ejection.

The aeroplane was travelling backwards with hardly any forward speed when it impacted and I landed about fifty yards from the fireball.

I remember landing like a sack of potatoes and never even had time to release the PSP.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 12:52
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Originally Posted by dook View Post
According to the ballistics boffins at Boscombe, my parachute opened at 190ft agl and the seat was never travelling upwards with respect to the ground after ejection.

Was that because when you ejected the aircraft was descending rapidly or steeply banked, or both?
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 13:19
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Descending rapidly with no engines.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 15:45
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Another having descended rapidly with no engines 41secs after t/o. Ejected at 230' 150kts in shallow descent. Like dook no time for descent VA's before being dumped back on land.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 20:50
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My recollections on the Vampire T11 are mainly on how uncomfortable the seating was. It was not unlike sitting on a rock!
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 20:54
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My longest trip was just over five hours in company with Martin Baker's finest and it was painless.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 22:34
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An intrepid employee, Bernard Lynch, attempted the first static ejection on 24th January 1945. He then conducted the first mid-flight test ejection on 24th July 1946. He ejected himself from the rear cockpit of a specially modified Meteor 3 at 320 mph, 8000 ft in the air. Bernard Lynch made a perfect landing and subsequently made a further 30 ejections.
Not sure what period this covered, or his age, but he must be a possible candidate.
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Old 24th Oct 2018, 07:38
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The Ejection Site
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