The F-35’s Martin-Baker Ejection Seat

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Dragon029

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Unread post14 Feb 2017, 23:26

The only F-35 pilot affected by the weight limit was confirmed to be male and he was sent to fly Raptors (not sure if that was before or after the custom helmet). Anecdotally, every female RAAF pilot and pilot trainee I've met has been (or at least seemed) reasonably safe from the minimum BMI limit. I've known at least one ACO (WSO) on the other hand who was always one large trip to the toilet from being underweight - he ate plenty (more than me, and I'm about ~80kg / ~180lb), but he was just blessed / cursed with a very fast metabolism.
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Unread post15 Feb 2017, 15:04

Dragon029 wrote: he ate plenty (more than me, and I'm about ~80kg / ~180lb), but he was just blessed / cursed with a very fast metabolism.

I've been on both sides of the spectrum. When I was 14 I hit 6'3" (190cm) and was eating 7-10kCal of food per day to maintain 140lb (64kg). These days I a more normal sized diet has me maintaining 230lb (105kg) and I can't get under 220 (100) for anything.

On days that I want to eat everything in sight my old metabolism looks like a blessing. When I look at how much money I would be spending on food these days to not drop weight like crazy then my old metabolism looks like a curse.
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35_aoa

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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 04:06

Yeah, wasn't trying to insinuate that women are the only people who are out of limits, just that they make up the vast majority of the cases I've seen. There are little dudes as well. My point was that the lower end of the spectrum will probably account for the most waivers/etc. Military height/weight standards cull a lot of the 270+ crowd, unless you are talking real tall people.
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 08:17

blindpilot wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Thank you Spaz and 35_aoa for your insights. So it seems that female pilots are the reason for lower weight limits. I think it's good that women can also become fighter pilots... :D


I would be reluctant to attribute new standards solely to small women pilots. This requirement is also driven by ally cultures that have smaller men than our US corn fed Nebraska farmer kids. There will be light weight Japanese and Korean men pilots as well. Limiting the range of weights unnecessarily will always keep talented individuals from your pool of applicants. I recall how frustrating it was at the USAF Academy that our basketball players were limited to 6ft 6 (? or smaller) when cadets were expected to be aircrew eligible unless by exception (medical track etc.)

Anyway it is not JUST women.... and getting and retaining pilots right now is tough.(Airlines) We need as wide a range as possible from Physics. It doesn`t matter what the F-4/15/16/18 seats were set at .. back in the day..


I definitely agree with you after some thinking about it. There are also men who could physically be very suitable for fighter pilots but are too small for most ejection seat weight limits. Boxing and MMA flyweights come to mind as an example. Not that being a successful athlete makes you a suitable fighter pilot automatically but they have good physical properties for it. Definitely agree with Korean and Japanese males even though they have also grown like Western men.
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 17:16

35_aoa wrote:Yeah, wasn't trying to insinuate that women are the only people who are out of limits, just that they make up the vast majority of the cases I've seen. There are little dudes as well. My point was that the lower end of the spectrum will probably account for the most waivers/etc. Military height/weight standards cull a lot of the 270+ crowd, unless you are talking real tall people.


It's majority women. And in difference to blind pilot I'll also point out we are going to need fewer fighter pilots going into the future. The pool can be smaller. Lots of pilots can fly sans ejection seat platforms too

Bone density is a factor even an underweight male will have stronger bones, more muscle. Weight is just an easier measurment

Pilots just seem to naturally get fatter in those loose nomex PJs anyway-- no offense 35AOA lol
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35_aoa

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Unread post18 Feb 2017, 05:47

None taken. Not overweight by any standards, but now in my mid 30's, I've put on a few pounds since I was a young ENS in my early 20's.
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Unread post18 Feb 2017, 19:33

From MB promo video (enhanced by moi) the three criteria - one of which was 'Gender - small female' - see screenshot:

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MartinBakerCriteriaGenderOneOfThree.jpg
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post03 Apr 2017, 08:35

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... at-435792/


USAF completes last tests for F-35 ejection seat

03 APRIL, 2017
BY: LEIGH GIANGRECO WASHINGTON DC

The US Air Force completed electromagnetic environmental effects (EEE) testing on the Lockheed Martin F-35’s escape system 23 March, marking the last round of testing on the Martin-Baker US16E (MKk16) ejection seat. The air force’s airworthiness engineers are analyzing the data and so far the results appear to be good, Brig Gen Scott Pleus, director of the F-35 Integration office, told FlightGlobal in a 24 March interview. During the test, the seat’s electronic controls were hit with electricity to test their functionality, F-35 programme executive officer Lt Gen Chris Bogdan told reporters last week. The data from the EEE, helmet and dummy testing on the ejection seat will help the USAF decide whether to remove restrictions on pilots weighing less than 62kg (136lb), Bogdan says. “We think that weight restriction could be removed anywhere from April and beyond,” he says. “We’ll start modifying airplanes in April to the new seat configurations with the new helmets, so as soon as the USAF gives it the OK, that’s up to them.”

Meanwhile, the air force is also examining the cost to qualify United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS)’ ACES 5 ejection seat. It would be premature to halt that second source qualification and until the USAF receives the results from the Martin-Baker study and decides on the weight restriction, the service still has a competition to qualify the ACES 5 seat, Pleus says.The UTAS UT’s seat would represent not only a second option for the service, but a domestic source as well. But Pleus says he is less concerned with beefing up the local industrial base and more focused on pilot safety. “We are going to put the safest seat we possibly can and if it happens to be an American industry, great,” he says. “We believe that if the seats meets the specifications there would be no need to take a secondary look at qualifying a seat.” When asked about the potential cost and schedule implications of qualifying the ACES 5 seat, Bogdan expressed strong support for the Martin-Baker seat. Other fixes on the US16E, including a switch that briefly delayed opening the parachute with a lightweight pilot and a lighter weight helmet, have also made the escape system safer for all pilots flying the aircraft, he says.

“I have an ejection seat on this airplane now that is better than anything in the field or projected to be in the field,” Bogdan says. “So as a programme manager I got what I need. I gave the warfighter what he asked for. Yes it was painful, yes I had to make some changes to the seat, yes it was controversial, but the seat today meets all the requirements.”
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Unread post07 Apr 2017, 00:41

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... at-436014/

Air Force explores next-generation ejection seat

07 April, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The US Air Force is conducting market research for a next-generation ejection seat for fighters and bombers, according to a 5 April notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities web site. The service plans to release a draft request for proposals in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 and a final RFP in the second quarter of FY18, program schedule slides state. The air force will select two qualified sources and award contracts at the beginning of FY19. A production decision would come in the middle of FY20. The contract could also open the door for production of a domestic ejection seat, namely United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS)’ Advanced Concept Ejection Seat (ACES) 5 ejection seat, and line up a potential competitor to the UK-based Martin-Baker. In a recent interview, Brig Gen Scott Pleus, director of the F-35 Integration office, told FlightGlobal it would be premature to halt the ACES 5 source qualification until the USAF receives the results from a study on Martin-Baker’s seat for the F-35.

The planned seat would integrate with the USAF’s existing fighter jets and bombers. Today, UTAS employs its ACES II ejection seat on the USAF’s F-22, F-16, F-15, A-10 and B-1 aircraft. In September, the air force awarded AMI Industries Inc, a United Technology Corporation company, a $14.4 million contract to upgrade the B-2 with the ACES II. The seat features a detachable seatback that would not require the removal of the bomber’s escape hatches for maintenance. In 2014, Martin-Baker completed installation of new US16T ejection seats on the USAF’s fleet of Northrop T-38 trainer aircraft. Martin-Baker is also fielding its US16E (MK16) ejection seat on the air force’s fleet of F-35As. The escape system has faced criticism over its weight restriction, limiting flights by pilots weighing less than 61.7kg (136lb). The USAF believes the weight restriction on the F-35A's Mk16 seat could be removed this spring.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post18 Apr 2017, 01:17

Is it only DEFnews wot pushes the UT F-35 altSeat Agenda or am I just dreamin'? Whatever - here they go agin - ACES 5.
United Technologies faces narrow chances of ousting incumbent F-35 ejection seat maker
17 Apr 2017 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — The Air Force is nearing a decision on whether to ease weight restrictions on the F-35A caused by issues with its pilot escape system, but if the aircraft’s Martin-Baker ejection seat meets requirements, the service will likely abandon plans to qualify a second seat, the Air Force’s top uniformed acquisition official told Defense News in an exclusive interview....

...In 2016, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the military deputy for the office of assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, directed the F-35 joint program office to study the potential cost and schedule impacts of qualifying United Technologies’ ACES 5.

Martin-Baker and F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin have since wrapped up testing and submitted new data to the Air Force, whose airworthiness authorities will make a final determination on whether to lift weight restrictions, Bunch told Defense News on April 17.

“What I am waiting on to see if the issues that we needed to have addressed have been addressed, and if those have been addressed, I will retract my request for that information [about ACES 5],” he said. [GOLDARNIT for dem UTs]

Bunch added that he would wait to see the data before making a final decision, and will weigh whether the cost of qualifying a second seat could be justified. But “if the seat that we has meets all of the requirements, I would have a hard time explaining why I would want to spend that money,” he said.

Air Force officials have said it could remove weight restrictions as early as this month, followed shortly by a resolution about whether to move forward on ACES 5. [talk about repetitive - bit of froth stirring I reckon but keep readin'/stirrin']

“All the indications that I have right now and the information that I have been given is that all the requirements are being met,” Bunch said. “Our number one priority from the very beginning has been the safety of our aircrew. That has been our number-one focal point, and the JPO and Lockheed Martin and Martin Baker have responded and leaned in to address the issue as we wanted them to.”

Bunch's comments may signal a shift in perception on the US16E, which had been regarded with apprehension by many in the Air Force... [fancy that - as if but this is USAF - am I rite or am I rong - somebody stop me (the mask)]

...The F-35 joint program office has remained bullish on the Martin-Baker seat throughout the ordeal, with Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the F-35 JPO, repeatedly saying that the modified US16E was making progress in tests and now meeting specifications for pilots of all sizes. [PHEW!]

“I have an ejection seat on this airplane now that is better than anything in the field or anything projected to be in the field,” Bogdan said in March. “It can handle a pilot from 103 pounds to 240-plus pounds from about five feet up to a six-and-a-half foot person. That set of body sizes cannot be replicated in any other ejection seat in the world, and it meets the requirement, so as a program manager, I’ve got what I need.”

“Yeah, it was painful. Yeah, I had to make some changes to the seat. Yeah, it was controversial. But the seat today meets all of the requirements,” he continued. “So from my perspective, I don’t need to look at anything else.” [good ole generale boggedown]

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/articles/uni ... seat-maker
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post24 Apr 2017, 20:26

DOD Needs to Complete Developmental Testing Before Making Significant New Investments [GAO Report]
24 Apr 2017 GAO

"...Ejection seat:
In 2015, officials discovered that pilots who weigh less than 136 pounds could possibly suffer neck injuries during ejection. Officials stated that the risk of injury is due to the over-rotation of the ejection seat in combination with the thrust from the parachute deployment during ejection. Officials noted that although the problem was discovered during testing of the new Helmet Mounted Display, the helmet’s weight was not the root cause. The program has explored a number of solutions to ensure pilot safety including installing a switch for light-weight pilots that would slow the release of the parachute deployment, installing a head support panel that would reduce head movement, and reducing the weight of the helmet. The final design completed qualification testing in 2016 and is expected to be incorporated into production lot 10. The cost of these changes has not yet been determined.

Source: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/684207.pdf (2.1Mb)
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post03 May 2017, 01:58

At what angle does the Mk16U recline? Is it 17°? 18°? 22.5°?

After a bunch of searching, I think I found some comments suggesting (or stating) it can vary from 17° to 22.5°. Can anyone confirm?

We've noted that the F-35 seems to fly at a slightly higher angle of attack than other fighter aircraft. Witness multiple references to photographs and videos (esp. the F-35 flying with Thunderbirds video). Gums has noted the Viper flew at 15° AoA to get 9g. Combined with the F-16 seat angle of 30°, gave a "combined" seat angle of 45° which helped a lot at 9g. Also noted was that it was not so much the seat reclination angle, but the fact that the pilot's feet were almost at the same level as his butt (or torso). That is, the elevated feet posture seemed to be more important.

If the F-35's Mk16U reclines at 22.5°, and the aircraft tends to like to fly a little nose high, then I wonder if it will not achieve 9g around 20-22.5° AoA, which, combined with the seat at 22.5°, would give the same pilot "attitude" of 45° reclination.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, add dollop of F-117 & gob of F-22, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well, then bake. Whaddya get? An F-35.
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Unread post03 May 2017, 14:02

Upon further reflection, I think my supposition of 9g @ 22.5° AoA may be grossly exaggerated. Even if she likes to trim out / fly at a slightly nose higher attitude than most other jets (e.g. F-16s in many videos / photos), an additional 7.5° at 9g is likely to be huge, especially since someone suggested (or stated) the corner speed is 370 kts @ 15,000 ft. If the corner speed was 250kts, then maybe 22.5° AoA might make sense.

Has anyone seen / read / heard pilot comments about F-35 cockpit / seat comfort in general (as a workspace/on long trips) and/or at high-g compared to other legacy aircraft?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, add dollop of F-117 & gob of F-22, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well, then bake. Whaddya get? An F-35.
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Unread post15 May 2017, 19:45

Air Force to Release F-35 Weight Restrictions

this is the safest ejection seat I've ever flown,” said Brig. Gen. Scott L. Pleus, the F-35 Integration Office director.


http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/ ... trictions/

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force leaders recently removed the restriction that kept pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from flying the F-35A. The restriction was imposed in 2015 due to concerns about the risk during ejections in a portion of the flight envelope.

After rigorous testing to ensure the escape system works reliably and safely in all planned conditions and across all pilot weights, three distinct modifications were implemented. A switch was installed on the seat that slightly delays parachute deployment at high speeds and decreases parachute opening forces for lightweight pilots. Additionally, a head support panel has been mounted on the rear risers of the parachute to prevent the pilot’s head from moving backwards during an ejection. Finally, the overall helmet weight has been reduced through both the reduction of internal strapping material and the removal of an additional external visor, which decreases injury risk during parachute opening.

“I have personally briefed every single F-35 pilot in the United States Air Force about these changes to their ejection seat, and I’m confident our pilots are no longer concerned with the safety of the F-35 ejection system. I've flown in this seat myself and believe, with these modifications, this is the safest ejection seat I've ever flown,” said Brig. Gen. Scott L. Pleus, the F-35 Integration Office director.

In July 2015, during the manufacturer’s ongoing testing, analysis identified an unacceptable risk of neck injury during parachute deployment/opening for pilots weighing less than 136 pounds. The requirement is for the seat to be certified for any pilot weighing between 103 and 245 pounds.

Air Force headquarters and wing leadership took immediate action to ensure pilot safety and work with the manufacturer to meet requirements for the seat. The F-35 Joint Program Office has been working in concert with contractors to develop options to reconfigure the ejection system.

The new ejection seats are already being retrofitted into the existing fleet, and the lightweight helmets are available in pre-production now, while full production starts later this year. The Air Force has received more than 100 F-35As to date, trained more than 400 pilots and accumulated more than 40,000 flight hours.
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Unread post16 May 2017, 05:27

I thought this phrase was 'weirdlyworded' above - however with the first sentence read with next sentence OK but....
"...The F-35 Joint Program Office has been working in concert with contractors to develop options to reconfigure the ejection system.

The new ejection seats are already being retrofitted into the existing fleet..."

so this new clarification helps:
"...Martin-Baker and Lockheed can modify 14 seats a month so it should take eight to nine months to complete the modifications to existing aircraft...."

F-35 Threat Library Still Way Too Slow; Light Pilots Cleared to Fly
15 May 2017 Colin Clark

"...In other news, the Air Force cleared the F-35A for all pilots weighing between 103 and 245 pounds. Pilots lighter than 136 pounds had been barred from the flying the plane because they could be killed should the Martin-Baker ejection seat blast out of the aircraft. The Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin and other contractors have begun testing the lighter weight helmet made by Rockwell Collins and the slightly delayed opening of the parachute, Pleus said. The helmet was made lighter by removing one of its visors and some internal webbing. So far, the Air Force doesn’t know where pilots will store the extra visor. The first pilot will be using the Generation III Light helmet and using the adapted ejection seat by the end of the year, Pleus said.

Martin-Baker and Lockheed can modify 14 seats a month so it should take eight to nine months to complete the modifications to existing aircraft...."

PHOTO: http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... -Baker.jpg

Source: http://breakingdefense.com/2017/05/f-35 ... ed-to-fly/
Attachments
F-35mbEjectionTestFreeze.jpg
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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