B-52 Ejection Seats and Parachutes

Message 769:
> Does anyone have the tech specs for the backpack parachutes for the 60's,
> 70's and 80's ejection seats? Especially the WAC/ Stanley seats of the B-52
> D and H models.

My 64-4 shows what appears to be a BA-18 with "T" ripcord handle. The descripton metions that "one version of the back style automatic parachute is designed specifically for some models of the B-52 aircraft." I think this is referring to some crew positions that utilize the parachute harness rather than a seat harness- there are lanyards that attach to the harness. It further says "Early design of harness for back style automatic parachutes includes only one detachable riser..... the early design also includes clover leaf ripcord in lieu of T-handle ripcord." That early mpde; used the T-cover for the Capewell riser release. They reference stock numbers 1670-801-1670- P/N 5007024-18 and 1670-802-8800 P/N 5007024-21 (I think this is the one for the B-52) It is hard to believe that the basic design of the "BA" series of the late 50s is still in use after 40+ years, and that today it is the only backpack-style parachute the USAF uses. Rich

Message 770:
Hi folks, A rejoinder on the BUFF seat biz: When I was out at Tucson, a few years ago, they were just finishing up the Salt II chop-job on the BUFFs. My bud, Jerry Fugere (formerly of AMARC) and I toured the lots where the BUFF "chop-up" was going on. We passed piles of all sorts of retrievable and resalable parts, including wheels, landing gears, everything you could imagine. Among the piles of debris were a couple hundred BUFF seats, including the Weber upward firing seats (Pilots and EWO), the Stanley downward firing seats (Nav & Radar/Nav), and even the strange little Weber-built rear tailgunner seats that were not ejectable (since the whole tail dropped off, via explosive charge). I spent quite some time examining these seats specifically for evidence of TO upgrades and mods & found that all of the seats there were from D, E, F, and a few G models (H model still in service, of course). Most of the seats of both types (up and down) were from the Ds, but were clearly the second generation Weber seat (not the first one, which the BUFFs were initially equipped with. The earliest BUFFs used the same standard early Weber seat that was fitted to many of the early 50s jets (even the first YF-102 prototype). This seat used a standard MD-1 survival kit (as did all the early D models). Initially, both upward Weber and downward Stanley models were used with BA type back packs that had standard chute harness configurations; they used conventional auto lap belts and shoulder restraints. There were still a few of these in those rows of BUFF seats we surveyed, but most had been TO upgraded to use the inertia reel lock to clip onto the chute harness (thereby allowing the chute harness to be used as a seat restraint. These seats still used the latest updated auto-release seat belts, however. Initially, as Rich said, only one riser was releasable (in the 50s); these one-side riser sets used a "T" Capewell on the left side only. This was standard on all USAF back style and seat chutes, including both fighter and bomber rigs. The "T" Capewells next were standardised for use on both left and right risers, when it was found that safety requirements necessitated complete release of the canopy under certain circumstances (such as ditching at sea). This two-release riser set was and is in standard use on all USAF personal parachutes, but in the very early 60s the more recent model "flat/rounded triangle" Capewells replaced the early bilateral "T" model Capewells, uniformly. The familiar D-ring ripcord release handle was also standard until requirements of fast actuating auto-release systems in the newer ejection seats required a modification that resulted in the newer "blast handle" design. The blast handle is that "T" shaped aluminum ripcord handle that you find on chutes of the 60s vintage. BUFFS (and most fighter jets) were TO updated in the 60s to use both the twin Capewell riser release sets and the new 'blast handle'. The 'blast handle' stayed in use when the BUFF seats were TO updated for the newer inertia reel to chute harness modification (that allowed used of the chute harness as shoulder restraints). However, in the 70s, the 'blast handle' ripcord release was found to have some unforeseen complications that became apparent after a number of fatalities occurred in manual release mode. They were found to be hard to manually grasp and pull cleanly in high G situations, if manual release mode was needed, or when the pilot was disoriented or injured after ejection, and when fouling of the auto systems required manual release. Hence the 'blast handle' was replaced by a conventional D-ring ripcord handle, similar to the original type long in use in previous decades and far easier to use in all circumstances. The latest BUFF seat configs (H model), to the best of my knowledge, use the inertia reel to chute harness system, a special fast acting lap belt release (releases from both sides, like F-4 type Martin-Baker H7AF system), and a conventional D-ring ripcord handle. I have attached a few images that show some of the Salt II removed seats, and a few others, with the hope that they may be helpful. I have here at my place two BUFF seats that have been restored. The first is an earlier D model Stanley downward firing seat (it used conventional BA-type chute with standard harness, twin "T" Capewells, twin shoulder restraints, auto-release lapbelt, and a D-ring ripcord handle). My BUFF EWO seat (same as the pilot seat, basically, except it faced aft on the main flight deck) is a G model seat that features the inertia reel to harness attachment, a fast-acting (smaller) auto-release seat belt (belt releases on each side, not in the middle as the older systems did), twin bilateral flat/round triangular Capewell releases, and a blast handle ripcord release (it was later replaced by a conventional D-ring, as is the case on the current H models). Both of my seats are equipped with rigid fiberglass seat survival kits (the upward seat with a CNU-68/P kit and the downward seat with a CNU-155 kit). USAF TO 14S3-1-3, dated 15 Apr 85 shows B-52 aircraft seat survival kits as follows: B-52B, C , D models could use MD-1, ML-4, or CNU-68/P, CNU-155/P, CNU-129/P kits ; F, G, and H models BUFFs can use all of the above, except the MD-1 (which is/was obsolescent). The attached photos show several BUFF seats, including my early Stanley downward firing model (without the chute and survival kit); other photos shows the CNU-68/P seat survival kit from several angles (the pad varies, as several were used). Be patient, as the photos may be informative and helpful. Unfortunately, I have no immediately 'at hand' shots of my Weber G model upward firing seat. Cheers, Chris

Three views of upwards ejecting seat from B-52

Left: Detail of upward ejecting seat from B-52G. Right: Seats from SALT II dismantled B-52s

Left: B-52 Stanley downward ejecting seat. Right: Seats from SALT II dismantled B-52s

Message 771:
About the Salt II B-52 smasher at DMAFB: Would I be corrent in presuming that the ejection seats met the same fate as the aircraft? Seems that I read somewhere recently that ALL parts had to be destroyed. If so, what a waste. Wizzo

Message 775:
Thanks Rich, This helps out. The last time I flew in the B-52, 1984, we were using a BA-xx derivative. I think it was a BA-21. I am trying to find out, for sure, to restore my H model upward DECM seat, to that era. I have a D model seat that could have used a number of different versions of BA chutes, since that model was around for a while, too. Steve F.