The Air Force is grounding F-35 over ejection seat

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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quicksilver

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Unread post04 Aug 2022, 21:40

Seems the ‘flaw’ is a ‘component (might we call it a consumable?) that is actually made by the USG. Wonder when the reporting will look into that idea? :shrug:

https://southernmarylandchronicle.com/2 ... -aircraft/
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Unread post04 Aug 2022, 21:55

That AvWeak report is from 29 July so it seems 'THE REACTION' changed 'out of an abundance of caution' because they/ we/ I only "have the safety of personnel in mind" SO a slow reaction was changed to a BIG REACTION whilst the MEEDJAH barked up a few RONG TREES especially about THE GROUNDING which peeps tried to emphasise was a 'STANDOWN'. And as several here have emphasised 'these issues are not unusual for other aircraft when a problem is found and procedures devised to check/fix. I like the way in the AVIATION WEAK emphasis WEAK article blames MARTIN-BAKER (and by this inference 'the F-35 for selecting MB' when ACES was in the running. And of course the ENDLESS GROUNDING MEME will never die. [yeah I had to repair me bad RAVE stuff] :mrgreen:
Last edited by spazsinbad on 04 Aug 2022, 21:59, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post04 Aug 2022, 21:58

spazsinbad wrote:That AvWeak report is from 27 July so it seems 'THE REACTION' changed 'out of an abundance of caution' because they/ we/ I only "have the safety of personnel in mind" SO a slow reaction was changed to a BIG REACTION whilst the MEEDJAH barked up a few RONG TREES especially about THE GROUNDING which peeps tried to emphasise was a 'STANDOWN'. And as several hear have emphasised 'these issues not unusual for other aircraft when a problem is found and procedures devised to check/fix. I like the way in the AVIATION WEAK emphasis WEAK article blames MARTIN-BAKER (and by this inference 'the F-35 for selecting MB' when ACES was in the running. And of course the ENDLESS GROUNDING MEME will never die.


:thumb:

Seems there is also redundancy (of CADs) in the function of the seat, which I’m sure was part of the system safety determination that a 90-day TCTD compliance was sufficient to address the risk.
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Unread post04 Aug 2022, 22:12

Am reminded of this (again) from Jonathan Swift —

“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect…”

Wish some ‘journalists’ and their editors, would depart for a moment from ‘being first’ to being ‘reliably accurate.’
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Unread post04 Aug 2022, 22:41

OR to be touting for various countries/firms/their own ignorance and prejudice. Recall BillyBobBoyoSweetiePie and the 6th Generation Gripping Swedish Clunker? Bill Sweetman and the Gripen NG to be more precise. Fill 'em full of booze eh.
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Unread post05 Aug 2022, 14:06

Hi, I just looked through TO 00-5-15 and there's no mention of a "time compliance technical directive". WTF is a directive? Doing a complete stand down for a routine TCTO? I guess if you want to water down the severity of the issue. Routine action TCTOs get fixed during phase maintenance. This is sus...

Waiting three months beforehand was probably knuckle dragging through Configuration Control Boards and MAJCOMs wanting to put their urine stains on the preliminary TCTO. When it hit, I could hear the moan from egress troops realizing their summer was over.

* I just realized TCTD is probably DOD wide. My bad.
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Unread post05 Aug 2022, 17:50

nrts1 wrote:Hi, I just looked through TO 00-5-15 and there's no mention of a "time compliance technical directive". WTF is a directive? Doing a complete stand down for a routine TCTO? I guess if you want to water down the severity of the issue. Routine action TCTOs get fixed during phase maintenance. This is sus...

Waiting three months beforehand was probably knuckle dragging through Configuration Control Boards and MAJCOMs wanting to put their urine stains on the preliminary TCTO. When it hit, I could hear the moan from egress troops realizing their summer was over.

* I just realized TCTD is probably DOD wide. My bad.

I believe that TCTD is a US Navy terminology, and the Navy is the lead command in the F-35 JPO. Technical Orders (T.O.s) are called Joint Technical Data - JTD. Was slightly confusing when the F-35 was first standing up at Nellis.
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Unread post06 Aug 2022, 03:01

The PUBLIC EYE got steamed OK causing blurred vision brought on by WOEful UNclear reporting from not understanding. "...The situation picked up steam as it entered the public eye in the weeks that followed....." & "...The Navy said no one has died or been injured as a result; [GO NAVY] the Air Force has stressed its groundings are a precaution to get ahead [WUT?! cover your bippy?] of any fatalities...." [BEAT AIR FORCE]
Here’s what we know about F-35 ejection seat woes so far
06 Aug 2022 Rachel S. Cohen & Stephen Losey

"... [just an amalgamation of all that has gone before (confused reporting caused to be fair by probably OPSEC about what was going on but hey WHO KNOWS) and telling us these reporters are confused by factoids that don't have numbers (see OPSEC comment earlier). I guess reporters don't yet understand sometimes the detail numbers are special info not for their eyes. Worth reading wordage though as a general run through of all the sky is falling rhetoric from retorters.]

...Martin-Baker spokesperson Steve Roberts told Air Force Times on July 29 the company has data that suggests aircraft other than the F-35 may not be hit by the cartridge problem. “Outside the F-35, not a single anomaly has been discovered worldwide as a result of the forensic investigation, which continues at pace,” he said."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-a ... es-so-far/
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Unread post15 Aug 2022, 22:26

All US Air Force F-35s are flying again after ejection seat checks
16 Aug 2022 Stephen Losey

"WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s F-35A fighter fleet has resumed normal flying operations after checks of hundreds of ejection seat initiator cartridges discovered no problems. Service technicians inspected 706 cartridges from 349 F-35s, as well as additional supplies of spare cartridges, Air Combat Command spokeswoman Alexi Worley said in an email Monday. The Air Force has about 376 F-35As in its fleet.

Of those cartridges, inspectors felt four could have problems and were replaced. Worley said further inspection of those four suspect cartridges showed they were not defective.

Worley said a small number of F-35As that were already in depot maintenance have not had their cartridges checked, but that those reviews would be done within the 90-day inspection deadline, which began July 19. Because those F-35s were already undergoing maintenance and weren’t in a flying status, Worley added, their cartridge inspections were scheduled for later....

...However, a routine F-35 inspection at Hill Air Force Base in Utah in April found a cartridge was loose and missing its explosive charge. Base personnel inspected a few other F-35s and decided it was not a more widespread problem, then allowing the fighters to fly again.

Martin-Baker, the company that manufactures the seats, also found two more defective cartridges in its own stores in April. The company also found, during a quality check that followed, that its production line was creating defective cartridges....

...Martin-Baker said in a statement to Air Force Times on Aug. 7 that ejection seat checks the military started in July uncovered no defective parts in any aircraft, leaving the one found at Hill Air Force Base in April the only bad cartridge found in an F-35."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2022/08 ... at-checks/
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Unread post15 Aug 2022, 23:06

All same same here (originator of earlier stand down story) https://breakingdefense.com/2022/08/us- ... spections/
Air Force F-35 Stand Down Ends After Ejection Seat Inspections
15 Aug 2022 Greg Hadley

"...[lahdedah as above then] Inspecting the cartridges involved taking each jet out of service for a day so its seat could be removed from the aircraft. From there, the CADs can be removed quickly and inspected visually. Maintainers who are unsure whether a cartridge has enough explosive powder can X-ray it.

The Air Force’s F-35s are not the only fleet that has encountered the issue. The Navy and Marine Corps have reportedly conducted cartridge replacements on at least five different kinds of aircraft, and Martin-Baker seats are used by dozens of other countries and air forces. Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom have all announced inspections as well.

Lawmakers and advocates have closely followed issues with Air Force ejection seats for several years, leading to legislation. As a result, the services are “taking no chances. They are going for zero risk,” a Martin-Baker official previously told Air Force Magazine."

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/air-force-f ... spections/
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Unread post30 Sep 2022, 17:34

‘It has to work’: Inside the military’s race to solve an ejection seat safety conundrum
Fear over a defective part led to grounding and inspection of hundreds of planes. After all that, only four problems were actually discovered. Was shutting down flight operations worth it?
By VALERIE INSINNA on September 30, 2022


WASHINGTON — It was during a routine inspection in April that an Air Force technician found a single faulty Cartridge Actuated Device in the ejection seat of an F-35 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The device — known colloquially as CAD — contained no magnesium powder, a necessary material for generating the explosive charge that allows a pilot to begin ejecting from an aircraft.........

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/09/it- ... conundrum/

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Unread post30 Sep 2022, 18:12

So…

They chose not to live with the HRI assessment ‘out of an abundance of caution.’

That means they were afraid of getting beat up in the media had the very low probabilities of both CADs not working, occurred. (which include the very low probability of suffering some kind of systems failure requiring an ejection, as well as the CAD redundancy).
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Unread post30 Sep 2022, 21:22

Dear Val specialises in rehashing the recent past and I like these phrases: "...were forced to stop flying while the inspections occurred...." & "...the Navy and Marine Corps have declined to detail how many of its fighters and trainers were forced to suspend flight operations, claiming operational sensitivities....".

Then there is this in a very long spiel about it all that is not obvious when first reading the REHASH: "...However, in hindsight, Wright [Air Force Lt. Col. Jessica Wright, the JPO’s aircraft and pilot system lead] said the program office should have done more to educate pilots and maintainers about the actual risks — or lack thereof — and address safety concerns “so that folks didn’t have to jump to their own conclusions with impartial sets of data.”...".

AND if one was holding one's breath throughout the read it was nice to see the last two paragraphs: "...For the ejection seat inspections this summer, service officials reiterated that pulling aircraft off of flight status to do ejection seat inspections is a small price to pay in order to keep pilots safe, should an emergency strike during operations.

“On that pilot’s worst day, I’ve got to be able to say that the team did everything they humanly could to ensure he or she had safety of flight and the ability to eject when they needed to,” said Wright. “If there was the potential for an issue with one of the cartridges, the inspection was working the way it was supposed to.”"
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Unread post02 Oct 2022, 07:06

The problem w the Colonel’s sentiment is that it defeats the purpose of the HRI — Hazard Risk Index — which is intended, in part, to use available data (versus sentiment) to characterize institutional risk decisions in the operation of aircraft. The logical (or illogical…) extension of his sentiment is that *zero* risk is the standard. (News flash: it is not.)

‘Yeah, but shouldn’t we make every attempt to…?’ No, we shouldn’t; there has to be some ‘reasonability’ applied (my word) or we would paralyze routine operations — just as we would if *zero* risk was the standard for driving cars or motorcycles or boats or any number of things we do in our daily lives.

Ever drive a car that has an outstanding recall? Some engineering group somewhere has made a risk assessment about the probabilities of something catastrophic (or less) happening if said part or system failed in X number of vehicles during Y number of vehicle operations.

‘Yeah, but…’. :roll:
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Unread post30 Oct 2022, 20:23

Escape Velocity [6 page PDF of article attached]
Nov 2022 Tim Fish

"Ejection seats are a vital asset in today’s fast jets, saving the lives of countless aircrew when they get into trouble. Tim Fish looks at the latest technological developments and the bumps along the way as the fifth generation evolves....

...Martin-Baker has a long history developing ejection seats. The company’s US16E Mk16 variant was selected in 2000 by Lockheed Martin for all variants of the F-35, beating an offering by rival Goodrich (now Collins Aerospace). The US16E can operate at a maximum speed of 600 KIAS (knots of indicated speed) and an altitude of up to 50,000ft. It uses a Cartridge Actuated Device (CAD)-initiated IGQ Type 6000 aero-conical four-colour parachute, while the seat ejection uses a catapult and underseat rocket motor. It was originally developed as a successor to the Mk10....

...The F-35 Programme introduced new head and neck load physiological requirements in 2003 which are now documented within MIL-HDBK-516C Change Note 5 Para 2.8. By 2013 the Martin-Baker US16E was fully qualified against these requirements for aircrew wearing the Rockwell-Collins Gen II Helmet Mounted Display (HMD). In July 2015, ejection testing of the heavier Rockwell-Collins Gen III HMD recorded head and neck load exceedances which caused the F-35 JSF Program Office (JPO) to restrict aircrew from flying the F-35 aircraft with nude weights below 136lbs (9.7st). An unprecedented program of 23 ejection tests took place in the 11 months between August 2015 and September 2016 to qualify changes to the US16E ejection seat to meet all the physiological requirements while using for an unchanged Gen III HMD. Starting in December 2016, all 300 Seats began to be retrofitted in service to the new configuration (-27), this allowed safe ejection across the speed and aircrew weight ranges with the Gen III HMD – still the only ejection seat in the world in-service today that provides this level of safety.

The kits included a threepart solution described by the company as “a timing delay switch to modify the parachute load for pilots of different weights, a head support panel to drastically reduce the amount of stress on the head and neck, and significantly reducing the weight of the [Gen III] helmet.”....

...Ejection seats are fitted with Cartridge Actuated Devices (CAD) which are pyrotechnic devices filled with powders and propellants that are ignited in a predetermined sequence in order to propel the pilot safely from the aircraft.

In April 2022 a single F-35 CAD was found to be missing its magnesium powder at Hill AFB. Two more anomalous CADs were subsequently found in MBA stock that were not delivered. The root cause was quickly established to be an imperfect production process involving overnight storage for incomplete CAD build. The F-35 JPO elected to keep the F-35 fleets flying worldwide while requiring all US16E seats to be inspected within a 90-day period.

No further anomalies were reported during the worldwide F-35 inspections. Martin-Baker and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head screened the records for approximately 9,000 CADs without discovering any further anomalies, confirming to Martin-Baker that this anomaly was isolated to a single CAD on the F-35 US16E Seat....

...The USAF has stated that some production lots of CADs were found to be defective and needed replacing. This was completed in August when an ACC spokesperson announced: “Across the Air Force, technicians inspected a total of 706 cartridges, which came from 349 F-35s as well as additional supply. Four cartridges were found to be suspect and have been replaced. Those four suspect cartridges have since undergone further inspection and were determined compliant.”

Following the grounding of the fleets each aircraft was unavailable for about one day for the inspection process to be completed that required the removal of the seats to examine the CADs. X-ray machines were also used to check if the CADs had enough explosive powder and speed up this process. The US Department of the Air Force told Air International: “As each F-35 aircraft inspection was complete and systems deemed compliant, the aircraft were cleared to resume flying operations. Overall, F-35 operations and training continued with little to no impact from the stand-down and our ability to execute the highest priority missions supporting national defense were not impacted.”..."

Source: AIR International Nov 2022 Vol 103 No 4
Attachments
ESCAPE VELOCITY Ejection Seats Air International Nov 2022 PDF pp6.pdf
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