Carrier Landing Fail

17 Sep

A little bit of drama from the early days of (modern) ejection seats. Before they were developed, this pilot’s chances wouldn’t have been good.  (February 1962, Popular Science)

Jet ejection seat saves a life

When Lt. (j.g) John T. Kryway tried to land his F8U-1 Crusader on the flight deck of the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt in heavy weather, Photographer’s Mate Louis C. Cera got these pictures.

Kryway made his approach at a normal 150 m.p.h. Waves pounded by a 40-mile wind caused the deck to drop. Kryway reduced speed but hit the deck at a steep angle. One of the jet’s landing wheels broke off, and friction of the impact ignited its magnesium strut. The plane kept going. Then its tail hook caught the arresting cable, but broke, and the pilot was forced to eject.

  • (1) Landing wheel breaks off on impact.

  • (2) Magnesium wheel strut bursts into flame.

  • (3) Plane breaks away from arresting gear.

  • (4) Plane heads toward edge of flight deck.

  • (5) Pilot begins ejection procedure.

  • (6) Canopy of burning plane starts to separate.

  • (7) Pilot and canopy are thrown clear.

  • (8) Jet heads for water, pilot turns flip.

  • (9) Jet splashes, chute begins to open.

  • (10) Chute is opening as ejection seat falls away.

I was quite surprised to find out how far back the attempts to make an ejection seat went: source

A bungee-assisted escape from an aircraft took place in 1910. In 1916 Everard Calthrop, an early inventor of parachutes, patented an ejector seat using compressed air.

One of the He 280 test pilots, Helmut Schenk, became the first person to escape from a stricken aircraft with an ejection seat on 13 January 1942 after his control surfaces iced up and became inoperable.

And there’s some amazing trivia on the Ejection Seat and Egress Systems Trivia page:

Lowest Altitude Ejection:  Submerged 10-20 feet – A British navy flyer, LT. Bruce Mackfarlane had an engine failure on takeoff, leading to an immediate ditching off the carrier HMS Albion. …

Most Miraculous Ejection:   This one goes to an Israeli pilot flying an A4 Skyhawk at low level approx. 350 kts. The pilot reports he was flying straight and level, then he was lying on his back on the valley floor with a massive headache. Israeli analysis of his damaged helmet and the debris of the aircraft detected …

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