Post-WWII French Ejection Seat research?


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Jul 12, 2021
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I wondered if anyone could point me in the direction of original reports, papers and recollections about the testing by the french (and possibly British / Americans) or captured German ejector seat technology at the end of WWII.
Any assistance you could give me in this matter would be gratefully accepted.


I really should change my personal text
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Mar 11, 2012
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Some of that German technology went to Sweden after World War 2. Germans were the first to install ejection seats in military airplanes (Heinkel 219 Uhu night-fighter). The Swedes developed their own distinctive line of ejection seats before merging with British efforts.
In Britain, Martin-Baker dominated ES development and eventually sold thousands of ES to the USN.
Soviet ES may have been based upon WW2 German efforts, but soon diverged to extremely complicated and sophisticated ES.
In the USA, it seems that every major military airplane manufacturer developed their own ES, then eventually merged on the Martin-Baker NACES. Other smaller manufacturers: Steincel, Webber, etc. all contributed to American ES.
Perhaps we should share time-lines and draw up a branching chart that traces the various lines of development.

Most of my knowledge is on the parachute side of things (GQ Security, Irvin, Pioneer, etc.) and I know just enough about ES to blow my own arm off. I barely mastered basic CF-18 ES safety pins.

Master Corporal (retired) Rob Warner, Airframe Technician (CF-18A Hornet fighter and CH-124A Sea King helicopter), FAA Master Parachute Rigger rated for back, set and chest.


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Nov 9, 2007
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Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio got the captured German material and went right to work.

"Shortly after arriving at Wright Field on August 10, 1946, and reporting to the Biophysics Branch, Special Projects Section, Captain Stapp was informed that he was now a project engineer assigned to the pilot escape technology program. He protested, making it clear that he was a doctor, not an engineer. The gruff branch chief, Colonel Edward J. Kendricks, explained that the unit was attached to the Engineering Division and immediately issued his new engineer a 1,200 page set of captured German technical documents, reports mostly, relating to aircraft ejection seat tests and biomedical examinations of human tolerance to the forces an explosive ejection creates. Kendricks had learned from Stapp's file that he was fluent in German."

[During the war] "The Germans had created elaborate test facilities at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and had constructed a 60 foot ejection test tower." From p.p. 52 and 53 of Sonic Wind by Craig Ryan.

Wright Field's Technical Intelligence section [T-2] had 6 captured examples of the Heinkel He 219. Three are untraced, but the remainder had USA numbers. These were aircraft found by the British and transferred to the Americans by previous agreement. These received FE or Foreign Equipment numbers. USA 8 became FE-612, USA 9 to FE-613 and USA 10 to FE-614. The British acquired 7 examples. Czechoslovakia had 2 under the designation LB-79. Source: War Prizes by Phil Butler.

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