Congress Should Fully Fund The Air Force’s Long-Overdue Competition For A Safer Ejection Seat

When a fighter pilot?s plane is hit by enemy fire, he or she may have only seconds to escape the doomed craft. Similar situations can arise in peacetime because fighters are designed to operate at extremes of speed and maneuverability, so training accidents are a hazard of the profession.

Ejection seats are designed to get the pilot clear from the plane fast. Using rockets or explosive charges, they expel the pilot and the protective seat from the cockpit of the plane, and then deploy parachutes to safely reach the ground. The U.S. Air Force has been equipping its combat aircraft with ejection seats since the 1960s.


Air Force will bring back up to 1,000 retirees to plug gap in pilots, other rated officers

As many as 1,000 recently retired Air Force pilots, combat systems officers and air battle managers could return to active duty under a major new expansion of a recall program.

The Air Force announced Wednesday it will expand the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty program as part of its effort to ease serious manning shortages in the rated community. The service has repeatedly sounded the red alert over its roughly 2,000-pilot shortfall ? which represents about 10 percent of its overall pilot force ? and said it could jeopardize the service?s ability to train all the new pilots it needs and fight wars overseas.