1. Purpose and Scope. This bulletin is intended for
b. In 1943, the U.S. Army Air Corps made a
survey of emergency bail-outs that had occurred in
information concerning Propellant Actuated Devices .is
1942. The results showed that 12.5 percent had been
may be necessary for their care, handling and
fatal and 45.5 percent had resulted in injury. A similar
utilization. It may also be used as a reference book for
study of bail-outs from fighter aircraft for the year 1943
all using arms and services. This bulletin is the first
showed that 15 percent had been fatal and 47 percent
publication of its type and pertains to the history and
had resulted in injury.
basic fundamentals of Propellant Actuated Devices. It
c. The Germans were the first to take effective
discusses only the basic theory and principles
action. A German directive was issued in 1944 requiring
underlying the functioning and design of most devices in
that all fighter aircraft be equipped with ejection seats.
this class; it does not attempt to discuss the mechanical
The British followed with a directive in 1945 requiring
details or operating procedures that differentiate one
that all fighter aircraft with speeds greater than 400 mph
model from another. General reference is made to
be equipped with ejection seats.
specific models to give the reader an overall picture of
d. The problems of escape from pusher-type
the development of Propellant Actuated Devices from
airplanes were studied by the Aircraft Laboratory at
the earliest date of concept.
Wright Field as early as 1940.
At least one
2. Reporting of Bulletin Improvements. The direct
experimental airplane made during the war is reported
reporting by the individual user of errors. omissions and
to have been equipped with an escape mechanism, but
recommendations for improving this bulletin is
it was not until 1945 that our Air Force and Navy began
authorized and encouraged.
DA Form 2028
serious development work on ejection seats. In August
(Recommended Changes to DA Publications) will be
1945, the Pitman-Dunn Laboratories of the Frankford
used for reporting these improvements and forwarded
Arsenal were requested to develop ejection devices
direct to the Commanding Officer, Frankford Arsenal,
under the cognizance of the Special Projects Branch,
ATTN: SMUFA-M 4320, Philadelphia, Pa., 19137.
Aircraft Laboratory, Engineering Division, Air Materiel
Command. Initial performance requirements of the
references pertaining to Propellant Actuated Devices.
ejection devices were established on the basis of data
Detailed information relative to specific applications can
and information from the Aircraft and Aero-Medical
be obtained from applicable technical manuals, as listed
Laboratories of Engineering Division, Air Materiel
in DA Pam 3104.
Command. With the formation of the Air Research and
Development Command in 1950, these laboratories
4. History. a. Prior to World War II, escape from a
were assigned to Wright Air Development Center.
disabled aircraft in flight occurred in environments and
e. Before gun-type devices could be used on
at speeds that were physiologically tolerable; therefore,
personnel ejection seats, it was necessary to determine
muscular effort usually was sufficient to separate the
man from his plane. As speeds increased, it became
minimum velocity of separation necessary for ejected
more difficult to leave the aircraft safely when trouble
personnel to clear the aircraft structure in flight. The
occurred. The technique of turning the ship onto its
Aero-Medical Laboratory had been conducting a
back, sliding open the canopy, releasing one's safety
continuing study to determine the physiological
belt, and falling out was no longer feasible.