Ejection seat | Abhinandan Varthaman ejects to safety: Here’s what pilot feels during ejection from jet

During an air combat with Pakistan’s F-16, Indian’s MIG Bison crashed across the border. However, Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman ejected to safety but landed at Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). After nearly three days, he was handed over to India, on Friday night.

Process of ejection seat:

Fighter jets are installed with an ejection seat to rescue the pilot in an emergency. In the fighter aircraft, carrying the pilot with it, the seat is propelled out of the jet by an explosive charge (or rocket motor). Once clear of the plane, the ejection seat, immediately, deploys a parachute.

What the pilot feels during ejection process:

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The only purpose of an ejector seat is the pilot’s survival.

During ejection, the pilot typically experiences an acceleration of about 12–14g.

In the 1960s–70s, with SM-1 and KM-1 gun barrel-type ejection seats, Soviet technology often used to go up to 20–22g.

Compression fractures of vertebrae are a recurrent side effect of ejection.

Early, it was theorized that ejection at supersonic speeds would be unsurvivable!

Tests like Project Whoosh (with chimpanzee test subjects) were undertaken to determine that it was safe.

The pilot has to keep his arms and feet close. Depending on altitude, the pilot may experience a very cold temperature.

If higher altitude ejection takes place, reportedly, the parachute won’t deploy until the pilot reaches a low altitude.

If the pilot gets unconscious because of the Gs, he/she will not be able to navigate and may crash into buildings or trees.

Landing injuries are an additional risk.


Video courtesy: cenkcnk​
Image courtesy: US Air Force

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