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Post Info TOPIC: Ejection seats and other escape concepts for rotorcraft


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Ejection seats and other escape concepts for rotorcraft
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Open topic about the concept of ejection seats and other emergency escape systems for use on rotorcraft.

Known examples proposed, tested, or in operational service:

  • Bell UH-1 "Iroquois" - (See Piasecki HUP) The fuselage escape capsule system tested on the UH-25B was proposed for use on the UH-1 series, but this never happened.
  • Bell AH-1W "SuperCobra" - One was used to test an ejection seat but the concept was not pursued.
  • Bell Model 301 / XV-15 tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft - The frontal section of the second prototype (N703NA) was used to test two North American Aviation/Rockwell LW-3B ejection seats. It was successful, despite winds causing the simultaneously-deployed chutes to contact each other. No above rotor disk makes this example among the safest of ejection seat methods listed here.
  • Boeing-Vertol Model 107 / CH-46 "Sea Knight" - (See Piasecki HUP) The fuselage escape capsule system tested on the UH-25B was proposed for use on the CH-46 series, but this never happened.
  • Canadair CL-84 "Dynavert" - Both pilots had rocket-boosted ejection seats with "zero-zero" (zero altitude / zero speed) capability. This system was actually used in a real emergency when the first prototype was lost during a reliability test accident in September of 1967, to which both pilots ejected safely. Apparently it happened again in 1973 with one of the CL-84-1 types. Again, both pilots safely ejected.
  • Curtiss-Wright Model 200 / X-19 - Per Tri-Service Program requirements, North American Aviation / Rockwell LW-2B ejection seats were installed on the X-19A type, designed to launch through the canopy via rocket-catapult system. The first X-19 prototype crashed in 1965 but both pilots survived by ejecting, receiving minor cuts as they launched through the canopy.
  • Kaman KSA-100 SAVER (Stowable Aircrew Vehicle Escape Rotorseat) - This was a jet-propelled autogyro. First produced and flown in 1971, the entire aircraft was envisioned as an escape system for fighters, providing pilots a means to fly back to safety after ejecting from the main aircraft. The concept was not pursued.
  • Kamov Ka-50 "Black Shark" (NATO: "Hokum-A") - Second V-80Sh-1 prototype (015) included the NPP Zvezda K-37-800 ejection seat similar to the Stanley YANKEE Extraction System, designed to be launched from the fuselage with rocket engines after the rotors and canopy are jettisoned. Production types include K-37 systems too.
  • Kamov Ka-52 "Alligator" (NATO: "Hokum-B") - All known types employ a version of the NPP Zvezda K-37 Helicopter Extraction System.
  • KB Maslov RUMAS A245 / Quest Helicopters "Project Q" series designs - Planned to employ a cabin-ejection system similar to the fuselage escape capsule system tested on the UH-25B.
  • Lockheed AH-56 "Cheyenne" - Ninth prototype (s/n 66-8834) was fitted with an experimental sideways ejection seat.
  • Mil Mi-4 (NATO: "Hound") - One experimental type was tested with jettisonable rotors for the inclusion of hypothetical escape systems.
  • Nord Aviation N 500 tilt-duct VTOL aircraft - Included an ejection seat inside the cabin. Wouldn't be as much of a danger as other examples since there is no overhead rotor disk.
  • Piasecki HUP "Retriever" / H-25 "Army Mule" - A type of fuselage escape capsule system was tested on the UH-25B, developed by the Naval Weapons Laboratory in Dahlgren, VA. Basically the idea was to jettison the front rotor system and the entire rear half of the helicopter so that the frontal half became an escape capsule, which would deploy parachutes as it descended. The system was successfully tested at least three times in March-June of 1966. Ultimately it was not pursued.
  • Piasecki Model 59H / VZ-8P (B) "AirGeep II" flying jeep - Second prototype included ejection seats for the pilot and co-pilot/gunner. Also no rotor disk to endanger crew.
  • Sikorsky S-72 RSRA / X-Wing testbed - Three ejection seats were installed. This method employs jettisoning the blades of the experimental rotor system before launching the seats. This was generally a desirable feature for X-Wing program designs.

Does anyone know if any LHX designs planned to use ejection systems?



-- Edited by Stingray on Saturday 28th of March 2020 10:55:09 PM

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The Mi-28 is also equipped with sideways ejection seats.

IMHO I don't think the Bell 214 or Ka-32 belong in this list because you still have to bail out of the helicopter to get to the rafts, after they are deployed.



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I agree, now that my judgment is not impaired. Last night was a rare opportunity for me to indulge in relief-in-a-bottle while I wrote this list so I apologize, lol. Those two entries have been removed.

 

Rafale D wrote:

The Mi-28 is also equipped with sideways ejection seats.


 

I've been doing some research since you mentioned this in the other thread. I can't seem to find any valid references for this claim.

So far I found the story about the crash:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/one-pilot-killed-another-injured-after-helicopter-crash-russian-airshow-n402686

But it seems the detail about ejection seats was added by other media sources (for no other reason that I guess to be filler or to make the aircraft sound "cool"). The Mi-28 is instead designed with shock-absorbing seats and landing gear that could withstand a vertical crash from high altitude. However, there is a parachute-escape system, but it involves bailing out as one normally would on conventional designs: The doors and wings are jettisoned to allow crew departure in mid-flight, but there is no system to jettison the rotors.



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As long as you had fun.smile

Thanks for the info! I admit I'm not as knowledgeable on Russian helicopter types as you guys are, but it's always a pleasure to learn new things especially on the subject of aerospace.



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Stingray wrote:

 relief-in-a-bottle


 lul that can be taken so many ways xD



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Wasn't there a proposal for the Apache to use a type of ejection system? Or was that purely hypothetical?



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Not that I'm aware of.

Also, here's some relevant material from the "interesting escape concepts" thread at SPF, credit to Justo Miranda, some Popular Mechanics illustrations depicting jet-powered autogyro escape systems similar to the Kaman SAVER (they might even be related designs):



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After a quick Google search I've confirmed my own speculation, lol. This Popular Mechanics article shows the same design, and according to the article it IS in fact an early concept for the Kaman SAVER:

http://aviadejavu.ru/Images6/HI/HI-14/109-1.jpg



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A report proposing emergency escape systems on attack helicopters... turns out even despite the dangers associated with such a design many pilots agree that an escape system like ejection seats are a desired feature...

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a093979.pdf



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More about the ejection system for the S-72 RSRA airframe.... a downward ejection system was proposed like on the XF-104 prototypes but since the RSRA programe required so many trials closer to the ground it was decided that conventional upward-launching methods were better. The aircraft's blade-severance system consisted of shaped explosive charges in the blade roots to jettison the blades away from the hub. It was designed in such a way that the blades never hit the escaping pilots as they were blown off in a very specific sequence. The ejection seats were designed by Stanley Aviation and used rocket motors that pulled the pilots out from the canopy rather than a rocket catapult that pushes them out. It was never tested in flight but it was successfully tested on the ground.

Footage of the test at 1:20...



-- Edited by Leela25 on Saturday 28th of March 2020 08:42:04 PM



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A4 sky hawks and AD1 Sky Raiders used the same systems - spin stabilized rockets on a wire YANK !

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I couldv've sworn there was a proposal to install a cabin escape system that jettisons the c.ockpit away Goldeneye style. Or was it for a Cobra? I remember it was for a modern US attack helicopter type. The rotors separate and the c.ockpit blasts away from the fuselage and then deploys chutes. I can vaguely see the artist's graphic in my head. I must be going crazy.



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Nuuuuu you gots teh coronavirus Anthony?? xD



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*cough wheeze* Nope



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le ded... RIP



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Too soon.



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Pepper wrote:

I couldv've sworn there was a proposal to install a cabin escape system that jettisons the c.ockpit away Goldeneye style. Or was it for a Cobra? I remember it was for a modern US attack helicopter type. The rotors separate and the c.ockpit blasts away from the fuselage and then deploys chutes. I can vaguely see the artist's graphic in my head. I must be going crazy.


 Now that I think about it this sounds extremely familiar. I think I've seen the same graphic you are talking about. Count me in on your lapse of sanity.smile

Quick question about the sideways ejection seat: how would a system like this work without causing injury to the pilot? Wouldn't the sudden jolt break his neck? And what if the helicopter is banking sideways? It just seems really dangerous compared to the conventional alternatives.



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Rafale D wrote:
Pepper wrote:

I couldv've sworn there was a proposal to install a cabin escape system that jettisons the c.ockpit away Goldeneye style. Or was it for a Cobra? I remember it was for a modern US attack helicopter type. The rotors separate and the c.ockpit blasts away from the fuselage and then deploys chutes. I can vaguely see the artist's graphic in my head. I must be going crazy.


 Now that I think about it this sounds extremely familiar. I think I've seen the same graphic you are talking about. Count me in on your lapse of sanity.smile


 On the Apache?? Im almost certain there wasnt. You two probably saw a generic study proposing an emergency escape system on the Apache or some other attack helicopter but there was never a real project for one.  Hypothetical concepts for emergency escape systems on helis done by random people or univ students are common AF... :P

 

Rafale D wrote:
Quick question about the sideways ejection seat: how would a system like this work without causing injury to the pilot? Wouldn't the sudden jolt break his neck? And what if the helicopter is banking sideways? It just seems really dangerous compared to the conventional alternatives.

 You would be surprised how much more danger is found in upward ejection systems over launhing forward or to the side. Gs from upward acceleration forces blood to rush from the brain and can cause the pilot to lose consciuosness but forward you can possibly handle up to 20G. Unless the pilot's head is not oriented sideways the acceleration to the side wont affect much.

Out of all proven ejection methods, downward was the most dangerous and has actually killed several test pilots.

As far as the aircraft banking? circumstances, circumstances.... not much you can do. Better to use the tried and true approach.



-- Edited by Leela25 on Sunday 29th of March 2020 03:12:20 PM

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You're probably right. Still though, is an ejection seat on an AH-64 that bad of an idea I wonder?



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maybe if you redesigned the co.ckpit to accommodate such seats. Right now the armour arrangement, seats, internal structure are designed specially for projectile absorption and hard landing. You would either have to sacrifice this to install the ejection seats or design the ejection seats with similar protection, to adapt it in a way. That and installing a rotor system that can be jettisoned like the Russian counterparts. its plausible, just maybe not cost effective these days.

the Goldeneye example would be a bigger engineering headache, better to just use individual ejection seats. :P

I would love to find a report about the AH-1 test to get some context as to why it was abandoned, especially after reading that report about so many pilots wanting such a system installed. from there i think we can judge its potential on the AH-64 series.



-- Edited by Leela25 on Monday 30th of March 2020 12:30:42 PM

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This topic might be of some interest BTW...https://stingraysrotorforum.activeboard.com/t59165076/parachute-rescue-system-for-gyrocopters-and-light-helicopter/

on parachute rescue systems for whole aircraft though, not escape systems for individual crew.



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Leela25 wrote:
Unless the pilot's head is not oriented sideways the acceleration to the side wont affect much.

Why should the direction of their head matter? A sudden jolt to the body in a direction like that could do a number on the neck/spine and support muscles, no matter what direction they are facing, from what I know about most car accidents and law of inertia.



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Im referencing what i remember offhand about the Colonel John Stapp research on acceleration/deceleration effects on the human body, if i can find the exact data on lateral acceleration ill post it. Note that i didnt say it was totally safe, just that it wont affect "much" in that orientation. Logically speaking any abrupt motion can be potentially damaging or fatal depending on the circumstances.



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Credit to Hillberg for originally posting this in the other thread (forgot to add this here, sorry), this 1960s U.S. Navy film (D-A-PHD-6-01) is about the helicopter escape capsule ballistic system tested on the UH-25B:

 

And there's also this 16mm video from August 1966:



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This video shows how the Ka-52 ejection system works (it also uses spin stabilized rockets)....

 

plus some pics from http://www.progressprim.ru/news/book/2013-09-05-02493.htm



-- Edited by Leela25 on Friday 10th of April 2020 12:58:36 AM

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Also, we apparently have a thread about the Mi-4 jettisoning rotors test (i made it a long time ago without realizing what it was lmao)....  https://stingraysrotorforum.activeboard.com/t48507774/mi-4-experiment-shooting-rotor-blades/



-- Edited by Leela25 on Friday 10th of April 2020 01:25:32 AM

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WTF

https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2010018561A1/en



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HA!! I needed a hearty laugh today, thank you!



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Leela25 wrote:

WTF

https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2010018561A1/en


 

But... why? just... why?!

Plus a little bit of nope-dot-com.



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