I’ve always been passionate about aircraft. When I served in the Air Force and took my pilot training, I learned a lot about how systems on military planes work. One of the most amazing components, to me, was the ejection seat, probably one of the most complex pieces of equipment on board.
Even if the purpose of the seat is clear and simple — to provide the pilot a safe and immediate way out of the aircraft in case of accident — its job is a very tough one. The seat has to work in emergency conditions; it represents the last chance for a pilot to leave a severely damaged aircraft, maybe spiraling out of control. This system must be designed not to fail despite the critical, varied and unpredictable conditions in which it will be used. That’s quite a challenge for designers! Let me give you an example. Continue reading