First Mk2 ejection was on 15th July 1952 332 lives saved using a Mk2 ejection seat

Experience with the manually operated seats had shown that a number of fatalities had occurred, due to unconsciousness after ejection, inaction due to circumstantial stress, or lack of time to carry out the necessary manual operations when ejecting at low altitudes. Accordingly, effort was concentrated on producing a simple, yet effective, fully automatic ejection seat, capable of being produced in quantity, reliable in service, and designed to permit the retrospective conversion of most of the existing manually operated seats already installed in service aircraft.

In the design of the first automatic seat, it was decided to house the personal parachute in a container in the back of the seat and the dinghy pack in the seat pan, to facilitate the use of the drogue to effect deployment of the parachute. It was also necessary to devise some means of disconnecting the drogue from the seat at the correct time and transferring its pull to the parachute, and simultaneously a means of releasing the occupant complete with his parachute and dinghy pack from the seat.

On the Mk1 seats, the drogue had been attached to the top of the seat by a solid shackle. This was now replaced by a "Scissor Shackle", capable of being opened automatically at a pre-determined time.

Operating Ceiling Unknown
Minimum height/Speed Unknown
Crew boarding mass range 70.4 to 101.7kg
Crew size range 5th to 95th percentile
Maximum Speed for ejection 400+ KIAS
Parachute type Irvin I 24
Parachute deployment Automatic
Drogue parachute type 24 in. Later versions 22 in. controller drogue and 5ft stabiliser drogue
Drogue deployment Drogue gun. Initiated by 1 sec clockwork time-delay, tripped by short static line
Harness type Type 1 to 4
Ejection seat operation type Ejection gun
Ejection gun Early version - two cartridge, 60 ft/sec
  Later versions - 50 ft/sec
  Later versions - 80 ft/sec
Ejection initiation Face screen firing
Barostatic time-release unit Yes
Manual override handle No, but provision for manual separation
Timers Time-release unit for man/seat separation
Seat adjustment Up/Down
Arm restraints No
Leg restraints Integral thigh guards and foot rests
Oxygen supply Bottled oxygen
Personal survival pack Liferaft pack
Aircrew services No
Command ejection No
  • Canberra
  • CF-100
  • Hawker Hunter
  • Hawker
  • Supermarine Attacker
  • Westland Wyvern
  • Hawker Sea Hawk
  • Meteor
  • Venom
  • Supermarine Swift
  • Saunders Roe
  • The pilot pulls the face screen seat firing handle
  • Two cartridge ejection gun fires and the seat moves up the guide rails
  • Emergency oxygen tripped
  • As seat rises, static line initiates time-delay which fires drogue gun after 1 second
  • As seat rises, static line initiates time release unit
  • 24/22 in. dia then 5 ft dia drogues stabilise and slow the seat down

Above 10000 ft

  • Barostat prevents operation of time-release mechanism

Below 10000 ft

  • 5 seconds after initiation of time-release unit, plunger releases scissor shackle to separate the drogue from the seat
  • Transfer pull to canvas apron positioned between parachute and its container release face blind
  • Canvas apron tautens and tips pilot forward out of seat
  • Parachute withdrawal line, attached to apron, pulls parachute pack closure pins and apex of parachute from pack
  • Parachute deploys, drogue and apron still attached
  • Normal descent
  • In the event of failure of time-release unit, aircrew pulls D ring on parachute harness. This pulls slide disconnect pin which disconnects withdrawal line from parachute
  • pulling D ring also removes canvas flap from second D ring
  • Aircrew pulls second D ring to operate parachute
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