On Retaining the Seat Pack After Ejection when Landing in Trees
DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CANADA OTTAWA (ONTARIO) CENTRE FOR OPERATIONAL RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
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Current air force training dictates that ejectees from high-performance aircraft mitigate landing injury hazards by letting the survival equipment in their seat packs fall to the end of an 8 metre lanyard while they are still descending under parachute. The exception is when they will land in trees and are told to retain the seat pack for the protection it offers against tree branches. Proposed automated seat pack deployment systems would protect aircrew from the landing injuries frequently seen when circumstances prevent them from deploying it themselves, though this would also deny the option to retain the seat pack for tree landings. This study reviews aeromedical literature and analyses Canadian Forces ejection tree landing injuries. It finds that, contrary to current doctrine, tree landing injury profiles with retained seat packs are not better and may be worse than those with deployed seat packs. Automated seat pack deployment is recommended.