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Ejection Seat No-No

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WCS Gorilla

Joined: 11 Mar 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Central Louisiana

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:56 pm    Post subject: Ejection Seat No-No Reply with quote

When I was a D.o.D. Q.A. fellow, at Grumman Aerospace, my mentor and I were going through the ejection seat shop, where the seat frames are outfitted with all the seat padding, aircraft interconnections, parachute rigging and high-altitude survival sundries, necessary explosives, ejection initiation devices, and safety devices.

A 'plane captain', (the person in charge of getting aircraft subassemblies, electronics, hydraulics, and mechanic systems, into a complete aircraft, flightworthy, and ready for acceptance, into the u.S. Navy), was watching the final steps of an ejection seat assembly, when my mentor asked him, "Did you check for the 'Hail Mary' prayer?"

The plane captain looked stunned.

"Uh, prayer? What prayer? Where!"

My mentor calmly said, "You know, the 'Hail Mary' prayer, that is printed into the face shield, so the pilot has somethiing to get his mind right, when ejecting out of his plane?"

The plane captain's eyes were switching from right to left, as they would in REM sleep.

"I must have done that! Here, look!"

The plane captain hands the assembly log to my mentor, to show that he has been signing off each step, after completion and company inspection point. The step in question was both signed and Q.C. stamped.

With a big grin, my mentor nodded his head, and said to me, "It's time to leave."

As we walked out of earshot, we began to discuss some fine points of interjocular humor, when my mentor turned his head, then shot me a look.

"Duck for cover, NOW!"

As I did, my mentor was running up to another aircraft in the area. I peeked over the top of where I had decided to cover my tail end, only to see my mentor going at full speed up to that other aircraft, which had all it's running lights lit.

I saw him climb the aircrew ladder, bend over the cockpit, and haul out our dear plane captain, and dump him over the side, to the hangar floor.

I ducked back down, knowing the ferocity and seeing the body motion with which the plane captain was being addressed.

Later, at another time, I asked my mentor what our dear plane captain had intended to do. The only reply that was supplied to me was:

"That particular aircraft was having it's electronics tested. That meant that ALL the electric systems in the aircraft were LIVE. The aircraft was parked under a main support steel I-beam 18 feet above the cockpit. Our dear plane captain, had removed all the safety pins of the seat, and was reaching up behind his head to pull down the pilot's face shroud, "to read the 'Hail Mary' prayer!!!! The ejection seat would have fired, and in 1/16 of a second, he would been split in two by the beam, never mind the damage to the beam, aircraft floorplates, hangar floor beneath, and other aircraft as the seat would still be bouncing about."

As an outcome, the plane captain was re-assigned to the electronics manufacturing plant, further out on Long Island, and my mentor never asked that again, of any other plane captain, to the day he retired, for fear of the plane captain attempting the same thing, with no one to catch them in time.

As I started with, an ejection seat no-no!
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1304
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a pane captain is typically a E5, mebbe E6, enlisted to whom the giga-trillion dollar trained officer level "pilot" entrusts his life.

if the plane captain sez yes, it's a go. screw NATOPS.
if the plane captain sez no, don't even think about leaving the island.

you fly, you die, maybe yes, maybe no.

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