The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:04 pm

Piston Broke wrote:
Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:03 pm
In my opinon all non military craft should have ejector seats disabled as they shouldn't be in dog fights or getting shot down, and that should be the only reason to bang out. There are plenty of planes flying without ejector seats
I must say I don't concur with this view. Aircraft flown on the edge can go down, irrespective of whether they are in dogfights or shoot-downs. Fast jets just crash, period, and they do so pretty often. It's always better if you have the option of getting out.

I've been fortunate enough to fly in a few high-performance military jets and the sheer speed they travel makes it impossible to parachute to safety. The ejector-seat gets you safely clear of the aircraft if things go badly wrong and once you get used to them, it's quite a reassuring feeling being strapped to one.

I flew in a Jet Provost T4 once that had its bang-seats disabled. It felt distinctly 'wrong' in such a high-performance plane. We did some hairy flying on that occasion .. silly, really ... but - older and wiser - I wouldn't fly in such a plane again unless it was with seats armed.

Nigel

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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by Renegadenemo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:58 pm

JP doesn't have swept wings.
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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:19 pm

I know, but I wasn't referring to swept wings - I was referring to bang-seats.

Alain said that in his opinion, "all non-military craft should have ejector seats disabled". Whereas I think it's better to have active seats, because even JPs were fitted with them as standard for a very good reason.

'My' JP happened to be in civilian ownership, but its performance envelope was the same as it had been in military use. I think anyone who deactivates the seats in such a type out of choice needs his head examining.

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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by Piston Broke » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:09 am

quicksilver-wsr wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:19 pm
I know, but I wasn't referring to swept wings - I was referring to bang-seats.

Alain said that in his opinion, "all non-military craft should have ejector seats disabled". Whereas I think it's better to have active seats, because even JPs were fitted with them as standard for a very good reason.

'My' JP happened to be in civilian ownership, but its performance envelope was the same as it had been in military use. I think anyone who deactivates the seats in such a type out of choice needs his head examining.

Nigel
Unless you are doing something stupid why would you you need to bang out of a well maintained aircraft. Yes the aircraft has the same performance envelope but unless you are pushing the envelope you shouldn't need to eject.
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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by Renegadenemo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:27 am

Unless you are doing something stupid why would you you need to bang out of a well maintained aircraft. Yes the aircraft has the same performance envelope but unless you are pushing the envelope you shouldn't need to eject.
My properly maintained Merc' almost caught fire in the dentist's car park last summer and was taken away rather ignominiously on a transporter. Had it been flying at the time and my bang-seat wasn't up to scratch I may have found myself in deep poo!
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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by sbt » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:46 am

The discussion about Ejector Seats is remarkably like the one that goes on these days with regard to Lifeboats (rather than Liferafts) on ships. The balance is one of weighing the benefits of the rescue system (in the case of Lifeboats they are extremely rarely used in anger these days, even in emergencies) against the cost, effort and real risks (Ejector Seats can kill, and Lifeboats, which have to be tested on a regular basis, can and do kill those testing them).

The basic problem is that no aircraft, even new ones operated and maintained to the highest standards, is immune from the unknown and unpredictable. Stuff happens, even to RAF jets pootling along doing a relatively sedate transit[1] - for a start parts lives are estimates and the odd one will fail earlier than expected. After all, even if you maintain your car to the highest standards and drive it very carefully there is still the risk that the engine will conk out (or it will catch fire) when you least expect it - and when the equivalent happens in a Fast Jet there is no nice safe Hard Shoulder to pull over on to.

The above also ignores the 'other bloke' effect. The car that pulls out from a driveway masked by hedges, straight into the side of the car, the aircraft that removes one of your wings as he comes up from a blind-spot (it happens). Or the bird that decides to fly up in front of your aircraft and take a trip through the engine - it happens, even with lots of effort to avoid the situation. Fly an aircraft long enough, drive a car long enough, dive deep enough often enough, and you WILL have an emergency of some kind. If you have left an item of emergency kit behind (I don't know enough about diving to suggest a representative item) you are, at the very least, going to look a bit embarrassed, you might end up dead - and so might people on the ground if your 'perfect plane' comes down in the wrong place.

And therin lies a point. Fats Jets are not designed to be easy to leave with a dead Ejector Seat, if its possible it takes a long time, time which a pilot can't use to try and ensure his aircraft doesn't come down somewhere bad. Give that pilot an Ejection Seat, especially a modern one, and all of a sudden they have more time before they have to make the fateful decision 'my life or theirs' in which to ensure that the decsion never has to be made. Historically pilots in that situation seem to have opted to save lives on the ground but why rely on uncertain behaviours if you can encourage the right behaviour by providing safety equipment?

Going back to the first paragraph, its a case of balancing risks (and costs). Ejector Seats on Civilian Aircraft haven't killed that many people (none that I'm aware of) and are an item of Safety Equipment that was designed into the aircraft. The balance might change in the future, particularly with the withdrawal of MB support for older seats, but at the moment the suggestion that the seats should be deactivated is akin to saying that self-inflating Lifejackets (automatic or manual) shouldn't be worn because the pressure bulb might injure someone in some way, in certain scenarios they can trap people and they cost time and money to service.

(Yep, long-winded again! - Sorry)

[1] I'm thinking of a few aircraft fires (not the Nimrod one), each one different, some resulting in fatalities.

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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by Mike Bull » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:07 am

sbt wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:46 am
. Historically pilots in that situation seem to have opted to save lives on the ground but why rely on uncertain behaviours if you can encourage the right behaviour by providing safety equipment?
That's one thing that can be said for the Shoreham pilot - he stayed with it and didn't attempt to bang out.
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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:25 am

Piston Broke wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:09 am
quicksilver-wsr wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:19 pm
I know, but I wasn't referring to swept wings - I was referring to bang-seats.

Alain said that in his opinion, "all non-military craft should have ejector seats disabled". Whereas I think it's better to have active seats, because even JPs were fitted with them as standard for a very good reason.

'My' JP happened to be in civilian ownership, but its performance envelope was the same as it had been in military use. I think anyone who deactivates the seats in such a type out of choice needs his head examining.

Nigel
Unless you are doing something stupid why would you you need to bang out of a well maintained aircraft. Yes the aircraft has the same performance envelope but unless you are pushing the envelope you should need to eject.
I've not read the rest of this thread yet - there seem to have been some lengthy posts overnight - but to address this one point of Alain's ...

The problem is that fast jets don't just put their crews in life-threatening situations when they are "doing something stupid". There can be technical malfunctions on aircraft - particularly on the rather more complex aircraft that fast jets are - and these can occur at any time. They may very well be no fault of the crew that's aboard the plane that day. It can be something someone else has done wrong at some point beforehand that has gone undetected, or it can be a simple matter of bad luck that a vital component or system has fails in flight.

An on-board fire due to a fuel leak, a critical control-system failure, a windscreen bird-strike causing loss of visibility and even possibly partial pilot incapacitation. These are all examples - out of many - that can pose a direct threat to life, where you are probably going to die unless you can get away from the aircraft.

My point was simple - although you may not agree with it - that, given a choice on a fast-jet flight, I'd rather be in a live seat than an inert one. Because it gives you one extra option, and that can be the difference between life and death.

Nigel

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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by Piston Broke » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am

quicksilver-wsr wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:25 am

I've not read the rest of this thread yet - there seem to have been some lengthy posts overnight - but to address this one point of Alain's ...

The problem is that fast jets don't just put their crews in life-threatening situations when they are "doing something stupid". There can be technical malfunctions on aircraft, and these can occur at any time. They may very well be no fault of the crew that's aboard the plane that day. It can be something someone else has done wrong at some point beforehand that has gone undetected, or it can be a simple matter of bad luck that a vital component or system has failed.

An on-board fire due to fuel leak, a critical control-system failure, a windscreen bird-strike causing loss of visibility and even possibly partial pilot incapacitation. These are all examples - out of many - that can pose a direct threat to life, where you are probably going to die unless you can get away from the aircraft.

My point was simple - although you may not agree with it - that, given a choice on a fast-jet flight, I'd rather be in a live seat than an inert one, because it gives you one extra option, and that can be the difference between life and death.

Nigel
I understand what you are saying but all of the above could happen to any aircraft from a little Cessna to a Airbus 777
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Re: The Vulcan XH558 & General Aviation Thread

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:38 am

Yes, of course - but then it's just "tough titty". You have little other option.

The good thing about fast jets is you have the option of a bang-seat. It's there - so make sure it's in working condition, and be prepared to use it if you really have no other option.

Cessnas and Airbuses shouldn't be flying on the edge. Fast jets do, a lot of the time. They are more prone to accidents, on account of the way they are flown - even in training.

Nigel

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