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Jet ejection process can be quick and violent, causing injury

The Navy’s F-18 Super Hornets use a very advanced ejection seat, made by a company called Martin Baker.

But the process can be very quick and violent and can cause injury.

Navy F/A-18E crashes off the coast of Virginia Beach; Pilot in critical condition

First comes the canopy then, at almost the same time, a leg restraint cinches the pilot’s legs as an explosive propels the seat along a set of rails. Lastly, a rocket under the seat ignites, blasting the seat into the sky.

This takes about four seconds and a lot can go wrong in four seconds.

The pilot can hit their head on the canopy if they don’t brace themselves for the ejection, they can injure their spine. Their knees can also hit against the instrument panel as they are being lifted from the jet.

Once the pilot’s parachute deploys, there is also a life raft built into the flight gear that will deploy as well.

A video shows its application during the rescue of a DC Air National Guard F-16 pilot back in August.

You can see the pilot floating as the rescue swimmer gets ready to hoist him into a helicopter.

We are told the Navy pilot’s life raft did deploy, and he was floating before the Good Samaritan fishing vessel picked him up.

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1 Comment

  • AVgeek

    Maybe you should get your facts correct before publishing an article? The ejection process is approximately 2 seconds (not 4) depending on the ejection seat. Your mention of a life raft is actually a built in PSP (Personal Survival Pack) which is fitted to the ejection seat. The pilot cannot ‘hit their head unless they brace themselves’. Aircraft canopy’s either jettison or fragment and also the ejection is built with canopy breakers as a back-up system.

    Also, the F-16 is built by Goodrich/UTC, not Martin-Baker.

    Awful article.

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