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Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 18:20
by StolichnayaStrafer
Greetings all, have not been here in forever- missed this place greatly!!!

After having ejected from an aircraft, are military pilots removed from flight status for life?

I know they would have to be cleared at least by a flight surgeon, but somebody was trying to tell me that it is a career ender due to spinal compression from the ejection itself. Could somebody in the know please clarify this for me?

Thank you in advance, and may you all be having a great day!

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 18:39
by quicksilver
It depends. Ejection alone — absent the specific circumstances and context within which the ejection occurred — is not, in my experience, grounds for permanent grounding.

Some suffer injuries that make them not physically qualified for continued flight in ejection seat aircraft; some, not physically qualified to fly anything. I know several who went on to substantial careers in uniform after an ejection/mishap. Some don’t fly anymore because they choose to eliminate that kind of risk in their lives. Others may be barred from further flight because their actions contributed to the mishap.

It depends...

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 18:54
by StolichnayaStrafer
I tried to convey that to the gentleman, but he Is adamant that his wife's brother- an A-10 pilot and Major- told him so.

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 19:05
by zhangmdev
Neil Armstrong ejected from LLRV and talked about that close call as if nothing had happened. So it is not a certainty ejection will physically disqualify flying status.

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 11 Jun 2019, 19:21
by outlaw162
Ah, the old '1 takeoff', '0 landings' in the Individual Flight Record.

(I flew 2 days later....I wouldn't have flown the next day because I had a hangover.)

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 12 Jun 2019, 20:18
by vilters
In the early supersonic days, when all was not yet fully understood, the ejections seats where very "brutal".
Compare it to sitting on an explosion, and you where out. => Spinal injuries where the "norm", certainly if you ejected not properly prepared.

These days ejection seats are a far cry of the past, and not saying it is a easy ride for everybody, but the "brutality" has gone.
The rocket motor fires, and the ejection, (if you had time to prepare and are in the ideal position) is rather gentle on the human body.

if you hit nothing during the ejection and the landing, normally, you are OK.

I had another issue for a while. I was too small and too light.
=> And for the seat
=> And for the chute => This latter being the worst of the 2 problems.

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 13 Jun 2019, 07:17
by hornetfinn
Here is an abstract about ejections made by Finnish Air Force pilots and what the consequences were:

There seems to be some errors in the numbers presented, but it seems like most ejections even from 1960s Western aircraft like Folland Gnat and Vampire trainer were fairly safe. Soviet aircraft at the time seem to have been pretty damn dangerous in both number of accidents and ejection consequences. Compared to Draken, MiG-21 variants crashed 6 times whereas only 1 Draken crashed. This despite there having been about twice as many Drakens and that they flew several times more due to their higher reliability and availability. Naturally having 5 major injuries from 8 ejections is also pretty bad. AFAIK, the Soviet ejection seat had very brutal and short acceleration time whereas Western seats accelerated somewhat slower and for longer time.

MU-3 is MiG-15UTI (trainer variant of MiG-15).

Re: Post Ejection career?

Unread postPosted: 13 Jun 2019, 17:23
by outlaw162
Four examples with different outcomes from units I was in:

F-100F with Stencel-Dart Seats and ballistic chute spreaders. Instructor Pilot in front, Flight Surgeon in back on a student chase mission. Engine failure. Pilot no injuries, Flight Surgeon slight gash on his chin. Scar became his 'badge of courage'.
Same Flight Surgeon did the exam and signed them both off medically fit to fly immediately. Who better?

A-7D with Escapac System on night climb-out. Pilot had filled in for the originally scheduled guy. Canopy locking system failed and canopy separated. Wind blast ruffled the upper face curtain and fired the seat. Pilot landed on a mountain ledge badly injured from the unexpected ejection. Rescued by DM 'Pedro'. Back injury, medically grounded for being a nice guy and volunteering. Upper face curtains were deactivated on all Guard A-7Ds.

F-4D with Martin-Baker system. Loss of control, DACT with 2 A-7s. Pilot landed OK, WSO broke his ankle on landing. Pilot claimed there was something wrong with the aircraft, not his fault. Got him a back-seat job for a number of years until he paid his dues and was moved back to the front. Eventually ended up in the F-16.

F-4D with Martin-Baker system. Loss of control, DACT with 2 A-7s. Pilot & WSO landed OK. At the board, Pilot claimed there were two reasons for the accident and held up his left and right hand. Honesty being the best policy, he went right back to the front seat. Eventually had a mid-air in the F-16 doing a rolling rejoin and was then grounded. Became a major airline captain.