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Proceedings Paper

Ejection safety for advanced fighter helmets
Author(s): Larry L. Wiley; Randall W. Brown; Robert T. MacMillan
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Paper Abstract

The old saying, `Safety is paramount.' was never more true than it is in the area of ejection safety for high-speed fighter aircraft. The fighter aircraft of today has been designed to endure tremendous structural loading during dogfight or evasive maneuvers. It can fly faster, turn quicker, stay in the air longer (with in-flight refuel) and carry more bombs than its predecessor. Because of human physiological limits, the human has become the weak link in today's fighter aircraft. The fighter pilot must endure and function with peak performance in conditions that are much worse than anything the majority of us will ever encounter. When these conditions reach a point that human endurance is exceeded, devices such as anti-g suits and positive pressure breathing apparatus help the fighter pilot squeeze out that extra percentage of strength necessary to outperform the opponent. As fighter aircraft become more sophisticated, helmet trackers, helmet displays and noise cancellation devices are being added to the helmet. Yet the fighter pilot's helmet must remain lightweight and be aesthetically appealing, while still offering ballistic protection. It must function with existing life support equipment such as the Combined Advanced Technology Enhanced Design g-Ensemble (COMBAT-EDGE). It must not impede the pilot's ability to perform any action necessary to accomplish the planned mission. The helmet must protect the pilot during the harsh environment of ejection. When the pilot's only resort is to pull the handle and initiate the ejection sequence, the helmet becomes his salvation or instant death. This paper discusses the safety concerns relative to the catapult phase of ejecting from a high-speed fighter while wearing an advanced fighter helmet.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 1995
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2465, Helmet- and Head-Mounted Displays and Symbology Design Requirements II, (22 May 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.209738
Show Author Affiliations
Larry L. Wiley, Air Force Armstrong Lab. (United States)
Randall W. Brown, Air Force Armstrong Lab. (United States)
Robert T. MacMillan, Air Force Armstrong Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2465:
Helmet- and Head-Mounted Displays and Symbology Design Requirements II
Ronald J. Lewandowski; Wendell Stephens; Loran A. Haworth, Editor(s)

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