The Ejection Site

Stanley Aviation Inc.

Stanley Aviation Inc. was founded in 1948 by Robert M. Stanley, a former Naval Aviator, with considerable experience in the Aviation field. Mr. Stanley had been the Vice President of Engineering at Bell Aircraft, participating in many flight test and engineering programs including the Bell X-1, and X-2 programs. The company designed and built many diverse products prior to entering into the escape and egress engineering field.

Stanley Aviation created many innovations in the egress field, including Automatic Gas-Operated Safety belts, canopy jettisoning systems, downward ejection seats, upward ejection seats, supersonic ejection capsules, and prototype ejection systems. Some aircraft fitted with Stanley egress equipment are:

Downward Ejection Seats
B-47, RB-47, XB-52, RB-66, XF-104, F-104 and USAF Development
Upward Ejection Seats
YB-47, FJ-2, F-106A, F4H, P6M, and USAF Development
Ejection Capsules
B-58, and Prototypes

Some prototype systems developed included a seat with several adjustments to the seat ergonomics to help reduce pilot fatigue on long missions, and the seat for the Ryan VTO aircraft which took off and landed vertically, requiring a seat that could tilt forward signigicantly to alloy the pilot visibility while verticle. The Stanley Aviation Canopy Capsule was a very advanced design which put the pilot into the supine position, encapsulated within the windscreen area for protection against the windblast.

The Stanley Supersonic Capsule was originally developed for the Convair B-58 Hustler aircraft, but was considered for adaptation to other aircraft. A more conventional design than the Canopy capsule, it was essentially a seat fitted with a clamshell-like cover, and special stabilizing devices. It provided for a shirtsleeve environment for the crew with the ability to encapsulate and pressurise the capsule in case of cabin pressure loss at altitude. This would allow the aircraft to be controlled to a lower altitude where the capsule could be re-opened. The capsule includes a very complete survival kit, and acts as a raft in case of water landing. It was live tested with Chimpanzees, Bears, and Humans in one of the most thourough test programs ever done. (During the time period, live testing was very common in many industries, and the use of animals in aviation research was not unusual. Now, computer simulation and instrumented manikins have replaced humans and animals in all ejection test programs.)

Another unique design was the YANKEE extraction system. Used in the Skyraider, a large propeller driven aircraft, this system consisted of a catapult-launched extraction rocket which withdrew the aircrew from the cockpit via a tether. It automatically deployed the aircrew's recovery parachute at the end of the rocket burnout. This system was ideal for retrofitting to cockpits with limited area for mounting a traditional ejection seat. The YANKEE was also tested in other configurations, including one for larger aircraft which had a limited crew, such as the cargo/attack aircraft like the AC-47 and AC-130. This system would have had several rocket units mounted near a hatch for the crewmen to attach to and be extracted one after another. The same scenerio was examined as a possible method of extracting the crew from the NASA Space Shuttle.

In other egress related products, Stanley Aviation manufactured ejection seat trainers.

B-58 Capsule Introduction
Additional photos of the B-58 Capsule
The photos below are from my personal collection of Stanley Photographs
Front view of the Stanley Supersonic Capsule
Capsule on extension rails
Capsules loaded in F-4 Phantom forebody
Capsules in F-4 Phantom, canopies closed
F-4 Phantom Pilot cockpit with capsule from above
F-4 Phantom WSO cockpit with capsule from above
Stanley Supersonic Capsule on trailer
Stanley Canopy Capsule, open
Stanley Canopy Capsule, closed
Stanley Canopy Capsule, sled model being installed