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November 22, 2014

NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED

When jet fighters were first invented, they flew much faster than the prop planes that pilots had been used to. But still, both planes had an emergency eject system. Initially, the ejection system was simple: push the button, clear the plane, and roll forward out of the seat so the parachute behind the seat could open. But leaving the security of the seat was easier said than done. It was one thing to push the eject button, quite another to release from the security of the seat.

On several tests it was found that pilots hung on to the seat during ejection, thus making it impossible for the parachute behind them to be released. The whole process of safe ejection was faulty, not because of mechanical problems, but because of the inability of the pilots to trust, in those desperate moments, the system designed for saving their life. Read More