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Vulcans - rear crew disabling pilots ejector seats in flight

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Vulcans - rear crew disabling pilots ejector seats in flight

Old 9th Jan 2011, 05:25
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A2QFI View Post
I am afraid that the fatalities of rear crew members in the Vulcan was a great many more than 12
Indeed it was more than 12 - I was just quoting the figures given by the author (an ex Vulcan pilot) for the number of rear crew killed WHEN THE PILOTS WERE ABLE TO EJECT SUCCESSFULLY.

Off the top of my head he quotes:

15 Vulcan crashes of which
5 were successful "all crew" escapes
6 were "no survivors"
4 were "pilots survived, rear crew died".

I guess there may well have been a number of crew chiefs in that number, too.

Valiant and Victor losses weren't given - it is a Vulcan book, after all.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 07:13
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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FarEastDriver,

5 Jan 66, Lightning XR721 of 56 Sqn. The pilot, who originated from South Africa, did everything right in the circumstances and for the seat to fire was just bad luck.

I also seem to recall a Harrier at Yeoviton (?) where the display pilot forgot to put the pins in and the seat fired as he was leaving the aircraft. Think this was mid-'80s but not sure.

Also in the early days of the Harrier (3 Aug 71), a USAF exchange pilot did not remove all the pins and the seat did not work as advertised.

O-D
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 09:01
  #23 (permalink)  
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Thank you Samuel,

Originally Posted by Samuel View Post
but the Canopy was jettisoned before landing so the pins may well have been inserted at some stage.
You reminded me. There was lanyard between the seat drougue gun and the back of the canopy. It was designed, L believe, to stop the gun firing unless the canopy had been jettisoned. It was in addition to the seat pins.

If the canopy was to be ejected then the seat pins would be inserted first.

I very much doubt any discussion about "all for one, one for all" took place.
This was very much crew room banter and never serious. We would say that we would disconnect that snatch cable. I don't think it was EVER taken or meant to be serious.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 12:20
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I was on 617 (ground crew) at the time the aircraft was returned to the squadron from NZ after a team from AVRO then another team from 617 had it back into service. Word at the time suggested the experience of the Vulcan at Wellington was later repeated that same day when an RNZAF Sunderland in the throes of a low fly past encountered an unexpected downdraft and scraped its keel along the runway; the tale continues that later, after landing, the damage caused it to take on water and sink.

It seems many other aircraft experienced (to a greater or lesser degree) a similar phenomena over the years and a friend of mine who runs a small corporate handling agency there confirms that to this day the unwary are prone to the occasional tightening of the sphincter when coming in to land.

As for the Vulcan seat pin stowage, I have a vague recollection that once removed they were normally kept in one of the rear crew desks, one of the Nav positions I think..
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 12:37
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You reminded me. There was lanyard between the seat drougue gun and the back of the canopy. It was designed, L believe, to stop the gun firing unless the canopy had been jettisoned. It was in addition to the seat pins.
PN - To the best of my knowledge there was no 'restrictor' on the Vulcan ejection system, (though it is now 50 years since I worked on a Vulcan and am open to be corrected), the only such device I remember was on the Lightning where there was a scissor like mechanism that prevented the primary firing unit from operating unless the canopy had jettisoned and a lanyard snatched away the scissor device allowing the main gun to operate. In any event, such a device would not have been attached to the drogue gun which under the normal sequence of events did not function until the seat had already fired and started to travel upwards along the guide rail.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 12:58
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To the best of my knowledge there was no 'restrictor' on the Vulcan ejection system
You can see why we didn't trust navigators with ejection seats.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 13:05
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That Sunderland didn't sink; it landed back at base at Hobsonville [Auckland] and was immediately winched ashore. The Sunderland that sank was one that hit a submerged object while landing in the Chathams [ 800 Kms south east of the South Island of New Zealand]. Some bits are still there!
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 13:28
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The Harrier incident at Yeovilton was in 1975. I was sitting on the wing of one of our 'Poachers' aircraft which was across the pan from it when it went off. It happened so quickly, not a nice thing to see.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 14:06
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I do not wish to get controversial, and it was a long time ago, but my memories of the Vulcan are as follows:-
The canopy had to go before a seat could operate.
There was a handle outboard of each pilot which could be used to jettison the canopy - for instance on the ground if the undercarriage had folded and the only way out was through the top.
The primary ejection handle was on the front of the seat pan - in my case there was in fact no room to operate the face blind handle between my helmet and the roof!
The canopy pin was large and agricultural. Nav Radar would make the canopy safe, then make the seats live, then make the canopy live. Reverse process after landing.
The pin from the sear on top of the gun would prevent the canopy wire withdrwaing the sear. IIRC there was a built in delay (half sec?) to make sure the canopy was clear before the seat gun fired.
Seat pins were stowed in a visible rack outboard of each pilot.
My rear crew never asked me for any extra abandonment training!
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 14:11
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That Sunderland didn't sink; it landed back at base at Hobsonville [Auckland] and was immediately winched ashore. The Sunderland that sank was one that hit a submerged object while landing in the Chathams [ 800 Kms south east of the South Island of New Zealand]. Some bits are still there!
Nice to get the facts ! Thank you.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 14:35
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As a nav radar, I remember it as 50 + Ray describes. Certainly no pin of any kind was ever stowed in my desk.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 14:49
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Both 50+ and Barksdale are most likely correct, in fact I now seem to have a dim recollection of the pin stowage as mentioned. As I said, it's 50 years ago now.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 15:07
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50+ Ray
Seat pins were stowed in a visible rack outboard of each pilot.
Spot on. Placard says 'Safety Pin Stowage'. Includes Canopy Pin to left. Similar rack for Co-Pilot. All pins (I think) had a red disc attached which slid into rack.

For reference, brown object is captain's inboard arm rest. Semi circle at top is side window.

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Old 9th Jan 2011, 15:19
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The Harrier incident at Yeovilton was in 1975. I was sitting on the wing of one of our 'Poachers' aircraft which was across the pan from it when it went off. It happened so quickly, not a nice thing to see.
I also saw it (from the crowd). The pilot completed his display, taxied in and shutdown normally, then put the canopy back and unstrapped. The seat went off as he stood up on the seat , holding the windscreen frame. I always wondered whether he was distracted by the lack of a proper ladder.

I was always fascinated by the various ingenious methods that pilots had to employ to gain access to their cockpits at Yeovilton - notably F104 pilots climbing up the wing from the tip then straddling the fuselage to get to the cockpit!
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 19:17
  #35 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Q-RTF-X View Post
PN - To the best of my knowledge there was no 'restrictor' on the Vulcan ejection system
This is what I meant.

The pin from the sear on top of the gun would prevent the canopy wire withdrwaing the sear.
Equally the canopy wire had to be connected to withdraw the sear.
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Old 9th Jan 2011, 23:38
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Driving past the 208 Venom hangar at Eastleigh and responded to a loud bang and found an armourer had accidentally triggered the drogue, and the bolt carrying the chute cords had gone right through his arm. Quite a mess but amazingly, little damage. It wasn't far to fall from a Venom!

Javelin on finals at Tengah 1966, and throttle locks engaged [or so the story went]. Two successive bangs as crew departed, and loud cheers from the armourers among the lineys. They just love seeing the seats work!

The aircraft landed in one piece!
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Old 10th Jan 2011, 07:59
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The canopy had to go before either ejection seat could fire. According to the Aircrew Manual, the one second delay applied to the seat trigger even if the canopy had already been jettisoned.

If there ever were an occasion where the rear crew had to get out through the top on the ground, the Nav Rad had a number of pins which he could use to secure the ejection seat gun [a number of straps were anchored in the area, whose pins were the right size - I remember it was always discussed during escape trainer drills]...
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Old 10th Jan 2011, 09:07
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Samuel, the Javelin incident at Tengah in 1966 was believed to have occured when the Control Locks engaged, which seems a bit unlikely to me, an ex 64 Sqdn Javelin man.
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 01:17
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Samuel, the Javelin incident at Tengah in 1966 was believed to have occured when the Control Locks engaged, which seems a bit unlikely to me, an ex 64 Sqdn Javelin man.
I heard it was throttle locks but whatever the reason he had turned to line up with the runway and couldn't increase power and so decided to abandon the aircraft. It's actually quite surreal watching something you did on a regular basis, and then all of sudden the canopy goes followed by two seats.
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Old 12th Jan 2011, 10:42
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On 57 Sqn. 1960 Victor 1.1A it was part of the AEO's pre taxy checks to remove and stow the pilots ejector seat pins.A certain AEO who shall remain nameless, modified the checklist to read "Seat Pins removed and stowed.Padlocks in,keys kept at the back" Caused many a visiting pilot being shown the mysteries of flight refuelling,to go crinkle chip!!! I think he was joking,but you never know!!!
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