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Martin Baker Rides at Farnborough

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Martin Baker Rides at Farnborough

Old 23rd Jul 2011, 10:16
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Dartmouth, Devon U.K.
Age: 87
Posts: 162
The Venom FB1s that I flew had no bang seats...We had to wait for the Venom FB4s for those. Our Venom FB1 procedure was to undo seat harness, jettison canopy, invert the aircraft and shove the stick violently forward. You then hoped that you would not hit the tailplane. Our first Venom FB4s had an early bang seat but the separation from the seat after ejection and the chute deployment was not automatic...You had to do that manually. Later the seats were changed for the more automatic models.
petermcleland is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2011, 12:44
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northants
Posts: 26
What it's like

I (for one) would be interested in hearing how you got your respective ties. With 3000 hrs on bang/rocket seats and no ride, I have often wondered what it actually is like, the thought process to pulling the handle, and memories of the whole thing.
I guess it's going to be different for everyone. My experience was out of a Harrier; engine issues which led to a terrifying minute or so fighting the hell out of the machine. I think I had just about every major caption to deal with from the initial (apparently) minor-ish issue, to total loss of primary engine control (over-ridden and got back manually - only a short respite), mechanical failure, fire (briefly in an after-burning Harrier - flames out back beyond the tail from the nozzles), doomed attempt at re-light with left hand as right hand went for the handle.

At that point, with wingman screaming at me and going down very quickly, I was pointing at a village. Full left aileron and went for the handle. The decision making process was immediate and I guess that in the preceding minute or so, the thought that this was not going to end well had obviously already occurred to me. In fact the tapes show I warned ATC that I may be leaving shortly.

The experience itself I have always struggled to articulate. I remained conscious and remember the splatter of MDC on the visor. The other thing is the enormous noise as it goes and the smell of things exploding too. After that, the only thing I can really say is that it seems amazing that the human body can survive it - just extraordinary force in a really short period of time.

I remember the seat falling away (the pin had been bent through about 80 degrees as I was holding onto the handle for dear life!) and still seeing my jet airborne before it crashed (weird sensation) - thankfully just outside the village. The main thing then was noticing that I could not breath, nor could I look up to check the chute as per the drills. One short attempt to stop the PSP swinging and then landed in a heap having not even inflated the LSJ. So much for all those drills; thankfully they don't train you to do them with a fractured spine.

Then lay there I guess in shock and honestly not believing it had happened. Rescued shortly after and the rest is a very long story. So for me, as I am sure every other tie owner would say - I can never thank MB enough. But it is genuinely not something I would recommend to anyone.
SLLC is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2011, 12:46
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: India
Posts: 91
Finding this discussion interesting, including the 'fear and trepidation', as expressed by some, I strongly feel that practicing ejection procedure (along with the rocket propelled seats) definitely saves the spine. Having seen the spinal injuries caused by the older generation Russian seats (KM-1), I suppose MB still leads from the front in saving lives and spines, though the latest Russian seats are as safe.
One may like to read the more about ejections at Project Get Out and Walk...
Happy Landings :-)
AvMed.IN is offline  
Old 25th Jul 2011, 00:03
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 76
There Was A MB Seat Trainer at Fort Rucker, Alabama

I qualified on it in 1970 or thereabouts to fly right seat in the Army Test Board OV-1C and D. If I remember correctly, the rails went up about 30 feet and it was only a quarter charge. It still hurt my back a bit. The nasty part about the seat was that it was like sitting on a wooden church pew with no ability to shift position. You weren't supposed to have a cushion between you and the seat because if you did, on ejection with the real charge, your butt would essentially stay in place until the seat got to it. The seat would have accelerated quite a bit by the time it compressed an inch or so of cushion and arrived at the base of your spine. We were sitting on the thing for three or four hours on an inertial navigation test mission between strap in and get out. The other problem was the inertial reel on the shoulder harness was tightly wound. I had to periodically punch buttons on a test panel that was far enough away that I had to lunge forward, strain against the straps for a couple of minutes, and then be yanked back into an upright position. I'd have black and blue marks on my shoulders for a few days after one of those test hops.
Tailspin Turtle is offline  
Old 25th Jul 2011, 13:30
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 58
Posts: 122
SLLC - thanks for sharing your experience. I'd be interested to hear what spinal injuries you had and what your recovery has been like. Do you still fly FJ?

I had a burst fracture of my L1 vertebra in a take-off crash following loss of power at low-level in a Siai Marchetti, 10 years ago. I still fly, but suspect that with my bolted together spine, an ejection would now be pretty bad news.
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Old 25th Jul 2011, 18:21
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northants
Posts: 26
HJ 260 - that sounds painful! For fear of this thread morphing into an injuries competition... I got 3 thoracic vertebrae changing shape - wedge fracture around T6 and micro-fractures throughout. Also something called Schmorls nodes which I had never heard of before! Only 'interesting' thing to look at really was as my calves and feet turned blue then black over the following days - I believe the leg restraint D-rings went into the bone causing the bruising. I did go back to it after about 6 months, but after another 3 months decided in conjunction with the medics to call it a day, lost my med cat and that is another whole story.

And back to the thread - it appears that since the practice rig was withdrawn, no-one appears to have missed it. Or put another way, were really glad they had done it when it came to the real thing. On the other hand, it clearly was another one of those 'experiences' one has in the military that you could not have anywhere else and that people remember with 'fondness' - bit like the dunker.
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