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Old 21st Dec 2003, 19:45   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: England
Posts: 58
Thumbs down Scimitar canopy jettison?

Does any one have any more information concerning this image?

It is captioned:

"Jet Pilot Drowns in Sea

A pilot, John Desmond Russell, trapped in the cockpit of his Scimitar jet which crashed into the sea near Portsmouth after it went overboard off the flight deck of HMS Victorious. Although a heliocopter winched down a man to help, the jet and pilot sank in 2 minutes. "

I wondered whether the Scimitar had a pyrotechnic canopy jettison system, or perhaps a canopy breaker for the pilot. The photo suggests that he's conscious, as he seems to be removing his shoulder harnesses. I am also aware of stories of US Naval aviators performing underwater ejections; could the Scimitar seat be used underwater or in 0/0 conditions? It seems to be a terribly sad loss.

Any help appreciated.

Last edited by Hogg; 21st Dec 2003 at 23:04.
Steve Davies is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2003, 20:19   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 24,442
How nice for the relatives perhaps to see your ghoulish photograph of someone dying.

Suggest that you delete it; if all you want to know is what type of canopy jettison or other escape was fitted to the Supermarine Scimitar, then there is no need to include this distasteful photograph in your post.

Later edited to add: Thank you, Hoggy, for having edited the original post.

Happy Humbug-tide to all!

Last edited by BEagle; 21st Dec 2003 at 23:11.
BEagle is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2003, 21:15   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northants, UK
Posts: 667
That was 25th September 1958. The occasion was the arrival of an operational Scimitar squadron (803) onboard the newly commissioned HMS Victorious, so the 'gentlemen' of the press were onboard to watch events.

Cdr Russell was the CO of 803, and his Scimitar (XD240) was the first to land. The no.1 arrestor wire pulled out and parted as he was completing his landing roll and the aircraft rolled off the end of the deck 'at walking pace' into the sea. The rescue diver from the SAR helicopter - onscene in seconds - actually sat on the sinking aircraft to try and get the canopy open but to no avail.

The above picture and other similar ones were front page material in the press of the next day - before the family had been informed.

Divers recovered the nose section and Cdr Russell's body four weeks later and underwater escape training was improved as a result of the investigation. Trials of ejections through the canopy were carried out in 1959, resulting in the fitting of canopy breakers to the head box of the seat. Underwater ejection trials did not take place until 1962.
DamienB is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2003, 22:55   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 478
Dear Mr Davies
Just the right time of the year to be posting this photo on the web??? How many people will call you a Pr*** or am I the only one.
SPIT is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2003, 02:07   #5 (permalink)

Do a Hover - it avoids G
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Chichester West Sussex UK
Age: 84
Posts: 2,207
Damien has posted most of the relevant facts. Shortly after this accident we were issued with modified leg restraint garters that had removable D rings to cope with when the cords would not disconnect from the seat pan. A friend of mine flying Scimitars at the time said that when the aircraft sank the pilot was free apart from his leg restraints.

In those days the emergency egress drills on the surface recommended that you undid everything before getting rid of the canopy on the basis that it provided protection from fire on the ground and water coming in at sea.
John Farley is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2003, 10:52   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 1998
Location: Kalgoorlie, W.A. , Australia
Age: 79
Posts: 420
I seem to remember reading an inquest report that the canopy realease mechanism was damaged and so the sad outcome was inevitable.
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