Weber Aircraft also manufactured crew seating for many different aircraft such as the C-5A, L-1011, 707, 727, 737, and the 747. The engineers at Weber were also responsible for innovations incorporated in many other seats such as the gun-deployed parachute system first incorporated into the Gemini system and later the F-106, F-105 and F-104 seats. They also designed the HBU Automatic lap belt which was used as the USAF standard for the 1960s and 1970s. Research and development was a serious effort with Weber engineers responsible for many sled tests of ejection systems as well as the only live zero-zero ejection test by an American ejection seat manufacturer.
Weber's work with NASA led to many innovative developments, including the only American ejection seats ever to orbit the earth in space. The Geminiseats were developed primarily to provide for a safe egress in the case of afailure of the recovery parachutes. The system was also to be effective on the launch pad for emergency escape. Upon initiation of the ejection sequence, thehot gasses were vectored into a set of pistons which forced the hatch doors to full open. At that point, the gasses were released into the catapult initiatorto fire the seats. The seats would exit horizontally with the astronauts on their back with a gun deployed parachute used to get quick enough deployment for a safe landing several hundred feet down range. Another unique seat usewas in the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV). The LLTV had the appearanceof an erector set spider with a telephone booth for a head. The small boxy cockpit contained a Weber ejection seat that was used succesfully on three occasions. The first and most famous occupant to use it was Neil Armstrong.Armstrong ejected safely through the two inch Styrofoam roof and landed safely,albeit the twenty knot wind dragged him through the brush causing some minor scratches.
Joe Algranti, the chairman of Armstrong's accident review board, became the subject of one himself when he ejected safely from the second LLTV. After themachine was out of control, he stayed with the wildly gyrating platform untilit was almost horizontal (and almost on the ground) before initiating ejection.When asked later why he delayed so long, he explained that he waited for thebest trajectory launch position. The third person to eject from a LLTV was NASApilot Stuart Present. The fourth and last LLTV survived the program and was recently restored for use in the upcoming HBO / Tom Hanks movie on the space program. Neil Armstrong's ejection will be dramatized in the movie.
Weber produced the ACES II ejection seat as the 'Follower' (aka- second source)from the mid-seventies until the early nineties when the contract size for newACES IIs dropped to 1000 seats, and it was awarded to McDonnell-Douglas. Weber Aircraft then finished out the spare parts manufacture and closed the ejection seat production line.
|Ejection Seat Trivia||An Ejection Seat Warning|
|Fascinating Ejection Seat Facts||Underwater Ejection|
|Ejection from an OV-1 Mohawk
The Weber F-106 & Project 90
|NASA ejection seats|
|Remembering the Pioneers||Some Ejection Seat Links|
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