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Explosive Fracturing of an F-16 Canopy for Through-Canopy Crew EgressThrough-canopy crew egress, such as in the Harrier (AV-8B) aircraft, expands escape envelopes by reducing seat ejection delays in waiting for canopy jettison. Adverse aircraft attitude and reduced forward flight speed can further increase the times for canopy jettison. However, the advent of heavy, high-strength polycarbonate canopies for bird-strike resistance has not only increased jettison times, but has made seat penetration impossible. The goal of the effort described in this paper was to demonstrate a method of explosively fracturing the F-16 polycarbonate canopy to allow through-canopy crew ejection. The objectives of this effort were to: 1. Mount the explosive materials on the exterior of the canopy within the mold line, 2. Minimize visual obstructions, 3. Minimize internal debris on explosive activation, 4. Operate within less than 10 ms, 5. Maintain the shape of the canopy after functioning to prevent major pieces from entering the cockpit, and 6. Minimize the resistance of the canopy to seat penetration. All goals and objectives were met in a full-scale test demonstration. In addition to expanding crew escape envelopes, this canopy fracture approach offers the potential for reducing system complexity, weight and cost, while increasing overall reliability, compared to current canopy jettison approaches. To comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and permit public disclosure, this document addresses only the principles of explosive fracturing of the F-16 canopy materials and the end result. ITAR regulations restrict information on improving the performance of weapon systems. Therefore, details on the explosive loads and final assembly of this canopy fracture approach, necessary to assure functional performance, are not included.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Bement, Laurence J.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Air Transportation And Safety
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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