Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two killed in Bathurst jet crash

A joy flight in a Strikemaster has a tragic end. High performance military jets are tricky aircraft to operate. No clue as to the cause of the crash and I'm not going to speculate. All in all, a damn shame.

Update - early evidence indicates the right wing separated from the aircraft. If this happened at high speed and/or low level, escape would have been almost impossible, ejection seats or no.

3 Comments:

At 11:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why would they disarm the ejection seats when they are the only means of escape when the a/c has a major incident.

 
At 7:34 pm, Blogger Chris said...

My father was an ejection seat mechanic in the RAN, so he can probably answer this better than I can, but I'll have a go.

Ejection seats are complicated pieces of military hardware with a heavy maintenance burden, very costly to maintain. They are also classified more as a piece of ordnance like a bullet or a rocket than an engine or a hydraulic system, and are maintained by Ordnance Technicians. This is because their main propellant is usually a cannon shell, explosive charge or rocket motor. Of course, explosives of this type are usually the domain of the military, rather than civil, so for most ex-warbirds, maintaining the ejection seats simply isn't an option. When the military sells them on for civilian use, they disarm or disable all the military hardware, and this includes the ejection seats.

Of course, the canopy could still have been jettisoned (I think) and the occupants parachute to (relative) safety, if they even carried parachutes. I know I've never worn one flying a Cessna or Piper. If there was a major incident short of the wings or tail ripping off I would land ASAP.

 
At 12:20 pm, Anonymous gtp said...

yes chris you are correct regarding the seat and as I see it, as the seat is disarmed there would be no need for a parachute as the a/c would be travelling at high speed, the occupants would not be able to overcome the force that they would be subjected on them.

 

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