I thought this was an interesting photo from the Lexican’s F/B page. I remember reading about this pod in this book –
Flight Testing At Edwards: Flight Test Engineer's Stories 1946-1975
And wondering how they did it.
Still the thought of dropping down in this at Mach 1+ ….
H/T to one of the Lexicans…
They’s wunna these over to the Pima County Air Museum. Saw it half a lifetime ago whilst visiting ye olde Uncle what flew, and enjoyed the self-guided walking tour. Prolly otter stop by again now that there are more residents within.
Have to admit, that whole wrap yerself in a clamshell and depart the comfy confines of the jet seems wicked scary. But, as a buddy of mine usedta say, ya only do sh!t like that when you know you’re gonna die anyway.
Surviving the blast during separation, imagine the ride down…being shot at by enemy gunners…nowhere to go…no gun to shoot back with…lousy food and a beating thrice daily for good measure after being captured…yeah, I’d do that. Or not…
Here is a you tube on the capsule development:
Interesting video – can you imagine being in that thing for 72 hours bobbing like a cork in a monsoon?
Mongo – I think you have it right – you only do this when you know you are going to die anyway –
Here is the story of an Air Force F15 pilot who AFAIK is the only one to survive a supersonic bail out (in an F15)
This from a friend – retired Air Force Test Pilot – and involved in the B1B development:
This B-58 pod is very similar to the pod ejection seats in the XB-70.
The original Bone design was for the entire cockpit to be ejected – including all 4 crew members in their seats, instrument panels, etc, etc. This is very similar to how the F-111 ejection works – the entire cockpit goes but the F-111 has only 2 crew seats.
After the first 3 Bones were built that way the USAF decided that the maintenance complexity and additional weight made that design less desirable. So the design was changed to use individual ejection seats that could each be individually ejected or were able to be sequenced for an automatic pilot-commanded ejection of all 4 in under 2 seconds (without smashing into each other or the hatches). Both systems were thoroughly tested on the ground but, due to the size, complexity and cost, these types of systems aren’t tested in flight.
There was 1 capsule ejection when B1A #2 went down during testing. A malfunction of 1 of the 4 explosive bolts that released the parachute lines caused the capsule to land tilted and not on the air bags. One pilot was killed and one badly injured. The third crew member, a flight test engineer in the back was slightly injured.
The first use of the ejection seat system came when a SAC crew hit a large bird (pelican or similar) that destroyed several hydraulic lines leading to loss of control. There were 6 crew members on board, 2 in jump seats. The 2 that were in jump seats were supposed to manually bailout through the bottom entry hatch (this we tested in flight at altitude) – they didn’t make it. One of the 4 ejection seats failed due to the failure of one of the components in the very complex system that allowed all 4 seats to sequence correctly during the automatic commanded ejection. So 3 made it and 3 didn’t.
As a side note, I was against the idea of non-ejection jump seats in the Bone from day one. I refused to fly in a jump seat and refused to allow anyone to fly in a jump seat when I was PIC. I was considered a horse’s ass by many in management for a few years until the first crew went down and both jump seat occupants were lost. After that the attitude about my position changed and no one flew in those seats very often after that. They were eventually removed from the jets.
…and in a follow up email:
The pod ejection seats in the XB-70 worked partially during the one time they were used. Al White’s arm got caught when his pod closed – permanent injury. The other pilot Carl Cross didn’t make it.
I saw a video of the Escape Pods being tested with bears as air crew. One bear wound up with internal injuries, and the other had hairline fractures of the pelvis, and a bloody nose. So if you have to wait in line behind a black bear at the VA, he probaly flew Hustlers for the USAF.
Scott – that is hilarious!
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