USAF F-15 Eagle ejection seat test using a mannequin.

Ejection seat – In aircraft, an ejection seat (or ejector seat) is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft (usually military) in an emergency. In most designs, the seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it. The concept of an ejectable escape crew capsule has also been tried. Once clear of the aircraft, the ejection seat deploys a parachute.

The modern layout for an ejection seat was first proposed by Romanian inventor Anastase Dragomir in the late 1920s. The design, featuring a parachuted cell (a dischargeable chair from an aircraft or other vehicle), was successfully tested on 25 August 1929

Types of ejection seats

  • Zero-zero ejection seat – designed to safely extract upward and land its occupant from a grounded stationary position (i.e., zero altitude and zero airspeed), specifically from aircraft cockpits. The zero-zero capability was developed to help aircrews escape upward from unrecoverable emergencies during low-altitude and/or low-speed flight, as well as ground mishaps. Before this capability, ejections could only be performed above minimum altitudes and airspeeds. Zero-zero technology uses small rockets to propel the seat upward to an adequate altitude and a small explosive charge to open the parachute canopy quickly for a successful parachute descent, so that proper deployment of the parachute no longer relies on airspeed and altitude.

What’s the problem?
In the case of an emergency in an aircraft, it may be necessary to get the crew out of the cockpit and delivery them safely to where they can be rescued. These accidents can happen on the ground, on or near a ship at sea or at high altitude. The system must provide the capability to get aircraft crew away from the danger without serious injury.