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Modeling of a Supersonic Ejection, Pilot Protection System

[+] Author Affiliations
B. Grant Crawford, Lynn K. Byers, Quinton J. Fenley

United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Paper No. IMECE2011-65340, pp. 665-672; 8 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Transportation Systems; Safety Engineering, Risk Analysis and Reliability Methods; Applied Stochastic Optimization, Uncertainty and Probability
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5495-2


Supersonic Ejection has always been dangerous for pilots to attempt due to the extreme aerodynamic forces acting on the body. Previous solutions to this problem have been too heavy and/or too dangerous for fighter aircraft applications. In response to a request by Boeing Defense, Space and Security, this paper proposes a system that uses the aircraft’s canopy as a ballistic shield to protect the pilot from the windblast in the initial stages of a supersonic ejection at Mach 1.4 and an altitude of 30,000 feet. Results show that the thrust needed for an ejection of this type is approximately 3,372 lbf for .75 seconds. The heaviest pilot will move 53 meters away from the aircraft, while the lightest pilot will only experience acceleration 6.6 times the acceleration due to gravity in the vertical direction. In the longitudinal direction (direction of flight), the lightest pilot will experience a deceleration of 26.2 times the acceleration due to gravity for an ejection at mach 1.4 and an altitude of 30,000 ft. While the maximum value for jerk found in this model falls within safe limits for the pilot, the simulation does not accurately model transient phenomena. This paper concludes that further research, modeling, and testing could produce a viable option for safe ejection from fighter aircraft at supersonic speeds primarily using existing components.

Topics: Modeling



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