10 Worst British Aircraft

I read a story, possibly on Arrse, about one of these that ditched after take off, having got out of the way of the carrier and one of the crew was rescued from outside by another, who had exited one hatch and reached down into the other and pulled the other guy out by the scruff, as the aircraft was about to go under.
While your dit may post-date my knowledge (late '90s), we used to have USN E2C operators on a unit where I served, and their story was that no-one had ever survived a Hawkeye ditching.
 
Whoever decided that the Vulcan escape situation was acceptable should have been jailed for manslaughter.
Avro wanted the Vulcan to have one pilot a la Lancaster but the RAF wanted two. They also thought that the three rear crew could be whittled down to two with the AEO,Nav plotter and nav radar duties being shared thus making rear ejection seats an easier option to include in the design. When concerns were raised after the Heathrow crash a chain driven contraption was designed but not fitted as weight and cost would have been prohibitive so inflating cushions were fitted instead.
 
...When concerns were raised after the Heathrow crash a chain driven contraption was designed but not fitted as weight and cost would have been prohibitive so inflating cushions were fitted instead.
A rig was trialed but as you say, weight made it unrealistic.

The Vulcan was however not the only British post-war design which rather neglected non-pilot aircrew longevity.

The Canberra B(I)8 - designed for the low level interdiction and nuclear strike role - also lacked an ejection seat for the navigator.

Instead, he sat on a bucket seat for takeoff and landing next to the pilot's seat which was offset to port like that of the PR9...

...a sideways facing desk forward of the pilot's feet during much of the mission...

...lay prone for bomb-aiming...

...and was expected to escape from a small door in the forward, starboard fuselage in the event of abandonment (seen below on a B(I)8 modified to test a Ferranti Laser Range Finder and Marked Target Seeker)!

An utterly appalling design.

Regards,
MM
 
Further to above -

View attachment 435796

View attachment 435798

Sure we've done the Canberra before on this thread.
Claustrophobic, uncomfortable and with an awful view...but at least the nav could escape via an ejection seat.

After being unimpressed with the original UK cockpit layout (of which they bought only 8 )...

...the USAF had the best Canberra variant configuration with the optimum mix of safety and visibility.

Regards,
MM
 
Whoever decided that the Vulcan escape situation was acceptable should have been jailed for manslaughter.
Martin-Baker were appalled too and developed an ejection system for the V-bomber back-seaters that involved each seat sliding into position under one hatch and firing.

They developed and tested it on their own initiative. But HQ Air declined to adopt it.
 
Martin-Baker were appalled too and developed an ejection system for the V-bomber back-seaters that involved each seat sliding into position under one hatch and firing.

They developed and tested it on their own initiative. But HQ Air declined to adopt it.
Talking about Martin Baker, when I was posted to BAOR in 1977, I spent every moment I wasn't playing rugby or playing soldiers, up at the parachute centre, Bad Lippspringe.
On the Staff there was was an RAF FSgt 'Dickie' Bird AFM.
Quiet bloke, very pleasant, walked his Alsatian a lot and smoked a pipe. I dont recall him ever jumping while he was there.

Turns out he had more rocket- assisted ejections than anyone else on the planet, all in the name of research. There was an aircraft ( Gloucester Meteor ? ) adapted for him to eject out of multiple times.

Hence the AFM.
Balls of steel.
 
A rig was trialed but as you say, weight made it unrealistic.

The Vulcan was however not the only British post-war design which rather neglected non-pilot aircrew longevity.

The Canberra B(I)8 - designed for the low level interdiction and nuclear strike role - also lacked an ejection seat for the navigator.

Instead, he sat on a bucket seat for takeoff and landing next to the pilot's seat which was offset to port like that of the PR9...

...a sideways facing desk forward of the pilot's feet during much of the mission...

...lay prone for bomb-aiming...

...and was expected to escape from a small door in the forward, starboard fuselage in the event of abandonment (seen below on a B(I)8 modified to test a Ferranti Laser Range Finder and Marked Target Seeker)!

An utterly appalling design.

Regards,
MM
There was one case of a B(I)8 nav getting out when it all went wrong low level, with an aileron jamming. The pilot managed to get the aircraft up to safe exit height for the nav, who went out of the door as soon as possible, while the pilot departed via the office furniture some moments later. Both survived, with the pilot being awarded an AFC for his efforts. Had they both had MB seats, the story would’ve been rather less dramatic...
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Talking about Martin Baker, when I was posted to BAOR in 1977, I spent every moment I wasn't playing rugby or playing soldiers, up at the parachute centre, Bad Lippspringe.
On the Staff there was was an RAF FSgt 'Dickie' Bird AFM.
Quiet bloke, very pleasant, walked his Alsatian a lot and smoked a pipe. I dont recall him ever jumping while he was there.

Turns out he had more rocket- assisted ejections than anyone else on the planet, all in the name of research. There was an aircraft ( Gloucester Meteor ? ) adapted for him to eject out of multiple times.

Hence the AFM.
Balls of steel.
A very famous old bird:
 
Just a phone snap from the Aerofax book showing the M-B concept for the V-bombers.

The Valiant was unlikely to ever receive it die to the structural rework but M-B offered to install it in a Vulcan at their own cost if the Ministry bailed one to them. None was received.
 

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tiv

War Hero
The V-Bomber ejection saga went wrong with the escape capsule. HP initially designed a cockpit with forward facing ejector seats for all crew but it got binned when the escape capsule idea came along. The idea being that the nose section detached from the aircraft and was lowered by parachute, crew all still strapped into their seats. HP were making progress with this, AVRO less so and the whole thing was binned leading to the arrangement we know today. I understand a legacy of it is that the nose section was attached by four large bolts that would have been expolsive and blown to release the capsule. As has been mentioned pneumatic bugs were provided to help the back three to their feet and out of the aircraft. Regard Martin Baker's rig, ISTR that it would have been viable in the Victor but in the Vulcan it wouod have been more difficult due to overhead equipment. The Victor had a wind shield fitted to the leading edge of the crew door to hopefully allow the crew to drop clear of the intakes. The Vulcan crew had to negotiate the nose wheel leg on the way out.

I appologise as many years have passed since I read some of this stuff and my memory is old and falliable so any corrections would be appreciated.

f60300d4.jpg
 
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Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The V-Bomber ejection sage went wrong with the escape capsule. HP initially designed a cockpit with forward facing ejector seats for all crew but it got binned when the escape capsule idea came along. The idea being that the nose section detached from the aircraft and was lowered by parachute, crew all still starpped into their seats. HP were making progress with this, AVRO less so and the whole thing was binned leading to the arrangement we know today. I nuderstand a legacy of it is that the nose section was attached by four large bolts that would have been expolsive and blown to release the capsule. As has been mentioned pneumatic bugs were provided to help the back three to their feet and out of the aircraft. Regard Martin Baker's rig, ISTR that it would have been viable in the Victor but in the Vulcan it wouod have been more difficult due to overhead equipment. The Victor had a wind shield fitted to the leading edge of the crew door to hopefully allow the crew to drop clear of the intakes. The Vulcan crew had to negotiate the nose wheel leg on the way out.

I appologise as many years have passed since I read some of this stuff and my memory is old and falliable so any corrections would be appreciated.

View attachment 435955
First thoughts were B-58 Hustler and F-111. The Yanks cracked it.
 

tiv

War Hero
First thoughts were B-58 Hustler and F-111. The Yanks cracked it.
Don't know about the 111 but the Hustler had individual so called clamshell capsules for each crew member. On the B-47 the nav sat in the nose with a downward ejection seat like the early F-104's
 
Don't know about the 111 but the Hustler had individual so called clamshell capsules for each crew member. On the B-47 the nav sat in the nose with a downward ejection seat like the early F-104's
The F111 had an escape capsule which was the entire cockpit - the crew just remained in their seats and came down under parachute. The RAAF had several crashes with their fleet of F111s, most of which were fatal due to their going wrong at low altitude and high speed but several crews survived their encounter with fate. The following is a Wiki link to the RAAF fleets disposal.

RAAF F111 Fleet
 
First thoughts were B-58 Hustler and F-111. The Yanks cracked it.
The B-58 'capsules' were individual systems for ejection at high speed...

...the B-70 had something similar...

...The F-111 was arguably the best known full-crew escape system which was successfully proven over many years of use.

It features floatation bags incase of a water landing and the pilot's control column can even be used as a bilge pump!

A successfully used capsule can be seen below at Duxford next to a more complete version of the 'mother-ship'!

The original B-1A design also featured a full escape capsule for the 4-man crew.

This was sensibly dropped in favour of conventional ACES II seats for the production B-1B Lancer.

Regards,
MM
 
Whoever decided that the Vulcan escape situation was acceptable should have been jailed for manslaughter.

Expendable aircrew mindset of the day.

USAAF always stipulated in their design requirements effective crew evacuation… RAF didn't give a stuff.
 

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