Piddle pack incident - restrooms at 28,000ft

Operating an F-16 on the ground or in the air - from the engine start sequence, over replacing a wing, to aerial refueling procedures
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Whity

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Unread post23 Feb 2004, 14:56

A quote from the Parachute History Newsletter (9/15/03)

<b>Piddle pack incident</b>

Sometime before 1991, a pilot of an F-16 had to 'use the rest room' at 28,000 feet somewhere over the Mojave Desert. A piddle pack is a sponge filled plastic pouch, designed especially for this purpose. The pilot reported that he unfastened his seatbelt and was raising himself up to use the piddle pack when the plane began to swing to the right. He tried to regain control of the aircraft, but could not. He ejected around 7,000 feet.


I assume this is just a bar story but perhaps it is loosely based on an actual incident.

Can anyone confirm?

Cheers,
Whity
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STBYGAIN

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Unread post23 Feb 2004, 15:10

I don't know if the geography and flight parameters are correct, but yes it did happen. The plane rolled to the right due to the lapbelt being wedged against the stick while raising the seat.
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kmceject

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Unread post23 Feb 2004, 18:01

My sources have told me this has occurred at least three times...

Kevin
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Loader

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Unread post23 Feb 2004, 20:31

Agree - As STBY stated, true story!
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TC

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Unread post23 Feb 2004, 23:46

Ejecting while trying to use a piddle pack...That gives an entirely new meaning to "Pi$$ing in the breeze!"

Sorry...couldn't help myself :mrgreen:
"He counted on America to be passive...He counted wrong." -- President Ronald Reagan
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Cylon

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Unread post24 Feb 2004, 02:53

Over Turkey.... That's what I heard. That's why you lower the seat first, then unstrap.

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Jon

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Unread post24 Feb 2004, 16:09

What is that expression?: "Don't pee on the electric fence"

I guess it should be: "Don't pee in the electric jet" :wink:

Does any body have dates of loss for F-16's lost while pilot is using a piddle pack?

Jon Somerville
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kmceject

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Unread post24 Feb 2004, 16:37

Cylon, the key is to restrap before raising the seat from what I have heard. The lap belt fittings push up on the collar of the FLCS if they are over the thigh guard area. The pilots lower the seat to reach the piddle packs stowage under the seat from what I heard. Turning on autopilot should also work as you have to hit the disconnect to make the FLCS functional.

Jon, I'll see if I can find out from a friend who knows one of the investigators. No guarentees I'll get anywhere though.

Kevin
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Jon

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Unread post24 Feb 2004, 17:16

Kevin

How much would the pilot have to unstrap to use the piddle pack? If I pilot ejects fully unstrapped, that would be very dangerous, right?

Jon
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kmceject

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Unread post24 Feb 2004, 17:44

Jon, the pilot needs to unstrap enough to get his zipper open far enough to do his business. Usually this requires opening the lap belt. He should always keep his parachute harness fittings connected, and the survival kit fittings. If he ejects in this condition at a reasonably slow rate of speed (under say 300kts) he should be held in the seat reasonably by the survival kit fittings and the G-force of the rocket thrust (which is aimed thru the center of mass in such a way that it should push the occupant back and down in the seat.)

At higher rates of speed, and with the roll force that comes from the rapid roll in this kind of mishap, the pilot might be pulled off the seat partways causing flail injuries. Typically these would be dislocations or broken limbs. This should be survivable, however quite unpleasant.

Overall it is not a situation I recommend anyone try.

What I have heard is that at least on the first mishap, and perhaps on the other two the pilot reported rapid roll and tried to hide the piddle pack issue. One of them may have been a fatal, but I am not sure.

Ejecting with the lap belt fitting against the FLCS would leave witness marks on both the seat and FLCS, so that may be how it was discovered in the first place, but I personally have not talked to the investigator about it. My contact with the investigator tells me (I just got off the phone) that there were three incidents he knows of, and all were survived. He will try to check with the investigator for dates and further information. He thinks all three pilots fessed up to what they had done...

Kevin
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Jon

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Unread post24 Feb 2004, 17:56

Kevin

Thank you very much for that great reply. I wonder if the USAF or other forces have attempted to put money into reviewing if another method might be better. I also wonder if the F-16 cockpit layout makes it inherently dangerous while using a piddle pack. The side stick could easily be hit with an elbow while using the piddle pack.

Cheers,
Jon
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Cylon

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Unread post25 Feb 2004, 02:46

Up / Down, whatever... don't move the seat with the belt un-done. Down, and it snags the bottom of the SSC. Up, and wedges between the seat and SSC. Yer right, though about the seat going back up when you're "done."

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Gums

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Unread post25 Feb 2004, 04:18

Aw c'mon guys! You're making this too hard.

I filled hundreds of barf bags flying the Viper. Damned issue piddle packs expensive and actually harder to use.

I certified the barf bags to 9 gees, too. 'course I used two, one inside another. Fill first, insert into second, tie top, insert into lower pocket of gee-suit - voila! Would chuck the suckers into the first dumpster I saw on the way to debrief shack.

I NEVER unlatched the seat belt, NEVER. I loosened it, and then unzipped, etc.

Most amazing contortions were the guys that needed toilet paper when crossing ocean on a long deployment. Usually, safe the seat, unstrap, wiggle out of flying suit, turn around and use whatever available - helmet bag, small garbage bag, large map, heh heh heh. Rest of flight would get into real close formation to see how the guy actually did it.

Great thread, but I feel sorry for that troop. He must not have practiced it too much.

out,


Still chuckling.
Gums
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elp

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Unread post25 Feb 2004, 05:25

If it was me and I was a jet driver, I'd be real pissed if I lost a jet that way.

( cue - several boos from the audience ) :D
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Burn

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Unread post25 Feb 2004, 06:52

Gums has it right, as usual. I never EVER unstrapped the lap belt, even in the hot pits waiting on the rest of the flight. Although, raising the seat is pretty useful for getting a slight downward vector on the process, thus eliminating spots on the HSI/MFD's.

kmceject - maybe you can shed some light on this - I've heard the seat motor is designed to fail (or pop a breaker?) under a certain amount of resistance. So when the lap belt buckle is wedged against the SSC the seat motor fails and JFS-Start 3 follows shortly thereafter. Any truth to that?

Push it UP!
Burn
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