|F-4G Front Cockpit|
(Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the Air Force)
Now there are two, count them, two, F-4 Phantoms sitting on the flight deck.
|The F-4s that Murphy "played with" are indicated by the big red arrows.|
(No, those arrows are not there on the actual ship.) - Google Maps
It seems that Murphy (educated by my post) decided to exercise that new found knowledge on a real F-4. Which he found on MIDWAY. Actually he exercised his new skills on TWO F-4s. Yup, the two F-4s on MIDWAY. He has a quite humorous post on that adventure here.
Now as to the title of this post. I'm now going to tell you everything I know about the ejection seats in the F-4 Phantom.
I really, really hope Murph doesn't have a trip to Sandy Eggo in the near future. If so, I really, really hope that the seats in those two MIDWAY F-4s have been either removed or deactivated. Because I really like Murph and his blog.
Oh, did I mention in the post about boarding ladders that I also mentioned how to open the canopies on the F-4? Murph took a picture of the buttons used to open them on the F-4. He mentioned that he assumed that some sort of power was required to use them.
You know what they say about assumptions, right?
Oh crap, Murph now knows how to deploy the boarding ladder and open the canopies. (Let's hope that somehow they have "locked" those canopies. Though truth be told, there is no way to do that in the aircraft as delivered.)
Oh dear, what have I done?
Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound I always say. (Seriously I do say that from time to time.)
Ejection seats, specifically the Martin-Baker Mk. H-7 Ejection Seats as installed on the F-4C and F-4D models of the mighty Phantom II. (Sidebar, cool website on ejection seats of all types.) Bear in mind, much of what I'm about to tell you is from memory. Some of it is shrouded in legend and mystery, tales told from father to son, down through the murky corridors...
Sorry. (Yup, digressed there didn't I?)
There were two things about the F-4 that actually
- The -60 ground power unit
- The ejection seats in the jet
I know, I know. Pay attention to your training and everything will be fine.
The -60 I will cover at another time. (I still wake up in a sweat from a couple of memories of that beast!)
Now the ejection seats were normally safed by five (?) safety pins and a strut. (I seem to recall, no doubt Russ will correct me if in error, he worked old Double Ugly much longer than I. And a lot of what I knew, he taught me. Not that I'm pointing fingers or blaming anyone!)
The strut wasn't really part of safing the seat, it was there to keep the canopy from "accidentally" closing on unsuspecting humans. Or tools left on the canopy sill. Bad for people, bad for tools, bad for canopy.
Now those pins, they were all part and parcel of one of those "Remove Before Flight" deals, which worked very well, if used properly. You know those red streamers meant to catch one's attention? Similar to those in the next photo.
Now bear with me as I try to remember where all the pins went. Oh, before I do that, how about a nice picture of the seat?
|I got this photo from Pinterest, but it seems to be in multiple places on the web.|
(What that means is, if this is your photo, let me know and I'll credit you. Capisce? See next line...
(UPDATE Source - Kevin Coyne Photo, H/T To the Wing Wife!)
Okay, the pins (here is very good description of this seat):
- This is the pin used to prevent the seat from firing when the face curtain is pulled down. (Those two yellow and black loops at the top of the seat.)
- This pin prevents you from pulling up on the emergency harness release. (The yellow and black thingee. Which cuts the pilots harness, gives the crew a clean separation from the seat in an emergency. During ejection that happens "automagically" - as we engineers like to say.)
- First of all there is that red guard which swings up to prevent your hands from grabbing the ejection handle (again the yellow and black thingee) between your legs, there is a pin (I think) to keep you from accidently swinging that guard down. (Junior airmen who don't know any better like to fiddle with things like this. The pin prevents that. Sort of.)
- There is a pin underneath the seat which goes into the rocket pack. Yes, I said rocket pack. The video you will see shortly (stop right there, don't watch it now) shows the rocket blasting the seat out of the jet. You don't want that going off accidently now, do you?
- This pin is used to safe the crewman's emergency oxygen bottle. If one has to eject at high altitude, you'll need something to breathe until you get down to thicker air. If the bottle isn't safed then, yes you guessed it, Airman Schmuckatelli might play with it and let all the oxygen out. Bad, very bad.
One key point you should have picked up by now, if you're in an F-4 cockpit and you see something colored yellow and black. DON'T TOUCH IT!!! (M'kay?)
I have heard of instances of airmen accidentally initiating the ejection seat in an F-4. Real horror stories, you don't live to talk about it. One of my subordinates and I had this conversation one fine day at Kunsan Air Base, Land of the Morning Calm.
Airman Schmuckatelli: "But Sarge, it's a zero-zero seat, right? I mean a pilot can be sitting on the runway, not moving and he can blast himself out of the jet to safety, right?"
Your Humble Scribe: "Now see here Schmuckatelli, when the pilots are in the jet, they're all strapped in. They have leg restraints to pull their legs in and a harness which tucks their arms in all nice and neat. When you're in the jet, do you have that? Are you strapped in?"
Airman Schmuckatelli: "Well no Sarge, but I could hold on really tight, right?"
Your Humble Scribe: "No, would you like to hit a wall in a car doing 60 and be holding on real tight?"
Airman Schmuckatelli: "Well no Sarge that wouldn't work because..."
Airman Schmuckatelli: "Oh."
Your Humble Scribe: "What are ya gonna do now Shmuck?"
Airman Schmuckatelli: "Check that the ejection seats are safe?"
Your Humble Scribe: "That's my boy."
So Murph, don't be running out to Sandy Eggo to test all this knowledge out. Take my word for it, all that stuff works as advertised. Unlike the boarding ladder, you won't have just mad docents to worry about. If you play with the ejection seat, who will feed your dogs?
Like I said, "Bad, very bad!" (And yeah, I may regret this...)
Now here's that video I promised you (the last few minutes are not about ejection seats, but are interesting anyway - and Buck, there's no cheesy music.)