Airborne Awesomosity

Bears in the Air


It seems safe to say that around these parts many of us enjoy and appreciate the unique features of the Convair B-58. One such interesting feature was the development of a survivable supersonic ejection seat. The early versions of the plane had standard ejection seats, but there were many questions as to whether an aircrew member would live through an ejection at supersonic speeds, especially at very high altitudes. Convair worked with the Stanley Aircraft Corporation to develop ejection pods that would jettison the crew in completely self contained pods.

B-58-Ejection-Sled B-58-Ground-Ejection
A high speed sled was built for seat testing, as well as ground test launches, but how better to test the survival pods at the edges of their rated limits than to simply test them in flight? Of course, then the problem becomes, who do you put into the seat to ensure you get viable data? The answer–bears.

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