Author Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.  (Read 6583 times)

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Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2017, 09:52:40 AM »
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/10/exclusive-sfo-near-miss-might-have-triggered-greatest-aviation-disaster-in-history/
Wow.  That's damn scary.  They need to come-up with something to "idiot-proof" the possibility of that catastrophe happening.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2017, 12:59:14 PM »
Wow.  That's damn scary.  They need to come-up with something to "idiot-proof" the possibility of that catastrophe happening.

It is fairly idiot proof already, but the guy flying sounds (if it was as reported) like he wasn't checking his instruments and thinking through what would've told him he was lined up correctly.



Quote
An air traffic controller sent the descending Air Canada Airbus 320 on a “go-around” — an unusual event where pilots must pull up and circle around to try again
Absolutely not some rare or unusual thing.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2017, 03:56:15 PM »



Absolutely not some rare or unusual thing.
Yeah, that part of the article struck me as badly worded. I've been on several flight in which we had to "go around." I think (?) they meant it was "rare or unusual" that the pilot or co-pilot wouldn't notice that they were heading to the taxi area and not so much that "go around" was unusual. Bad editing, I think?

The whole article though reminds of Carlin's rant about air travel, especially about "it is not a 'near miss,' it is 'near hit!'" "We almost hit the other plane, but we missed."


Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #63 on: July 11, 2017, 04:59:01 PM »
It is fairly idiot proof already, but the guy flying sounds (if it was as reported) like he wasn't checking his instruments and thinking through what would've told him he was lined up correctly.


Absolutely not some rare or unusual thing.
Wiping out a number of heavies on the ground and no doubt killing all  those on board with something as stupid as this deserves some careful reflection on what the SOP needs to be prevent such a horrific catastrophe.  Tenerife was God awful.


Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #64 on: July 11, 2017, 11:34:28 PM »
Quote
On Jul 11th 2017 the Canadian TSB reported the crew of C-FKCK asked ATC to confirm landing clearance as they were seeing lights when the aircraft was 0.6nm before the runway threshold. The controller was coordinating with another facility when a flight crew of another airliner taxiing on taxiway C queried ATC where AC-759 was going and stated it appeared the aircraft was lined up with taxiway C. AC-759 had already overflown taxiway C by about 0.25nm when ATC instructed the aircraft to go around. 4 aircraft were on taxiway C at the time of the occurrence. It is estimated that AC-759 overflew the first two aircraft by 100 feet, the third by about 200 feet and the last by 300 feet. The closest lateral proximity between AC-759 and one of the aircraft on taxiway C was 29 feet.
https://avherald.com/h?article=4ab79f58&opt=0

Here's an approach to the same runway:

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2017, 03:01:38 AM »
The Pepsi Concorde



Quote
As its market shares were eroding on the soft drinks market, the US company Pepsi Cola undertook a major re-branding project of $500 million US which would be unveiled in 1996 after about two years of work. Pepsi therefore started to look around for a spectacular and efficient manner to advertise its new brand style and enhance its sales. It was eventually decided to have an advertisement operation involving the Concorde.

Because the new identity of Pepsi was based on the color blue, the aircraft would have to be painted alike. Therefore the Air France maintenance staff had to call Aerospatiale as the airplane, for which temperature is so important, was only certified with a white color scheme. They received approval to paint the fuselage in blue, but were advised to keep the wings in white (because of the fuel temperature).

It was advised to remain at M2.02 for about 20 minutes at most, but there was no restriction under M1.70.
Air France required its name to be kept close to the cockpit, as well as the seahorse despite the Pepsi scheme. This is a usual requirement from the airline, which was for the occasion very important as Concorde was due to be presented in British Airways' backyard.

It required 200 liters of paint and 2,000 hours of work.
The whole operation was to be undertaken secretly, as Pepsi wanted to keep all the surprise for the moment when it would unveil its new identity. The aircraft was thus covered by brown wrapping paper after it was painted, so that as few people as possible would be aware of it before a grand unveiling.

For the Pepsi commercial operation, there were a total of 16 flights and 10 cities visited.




Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #66 on: July 12, 2017, 12:27:18 PM »
The Pepsi Concorde




In 1979 I used to watch Concorde fly in and out of Dulles outside of Washington DC.  It was a beautiful a/c that was distinctively loud. There was a short-lived deal between British Airways and Braniff to fly the aircraft to DFW from Dulles as Braniff flight with a Braniff crew.  I remember reading an article explaining all the hoops the two airlines had to jump through to make the flights possible for various legal, insurance, labor, and regulatory reasons.  The whole thing was a bureaucratic nightmare on both side of the ocean. 

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2017, 12:37:26 PM »
The older generations might chuckle that the feat of landing on a carrier at night with all the new instrumentation is too easy, but this will still leave  you with the stomach in the throat feeling. Surreal. Like landing a spaceship on a postage stamp, then all of a sudden here is the "dimension" of the carrier.





Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2017, 12:51:30 PM »
Crazy close call in San Francisco. Could've been the worst aviation accident in history.


Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2017, 01:16:40 PM »
There was a short-lived deal between British Airways and Braniff to fly the aircraft to DFW from Dulles as Braniff flight with a Braniff crew.  I remember reading an article explaining all the hoops the two airlines had to jump through to make the flights possible for various legal, insurance, labor, and regulatory reasons.  The whole thing was a bureaucratic nightmare on both side of the ocean.

There was also a similar partnership between Singapore Airlines and British Airways, but it was short lived due to governments from other countries and poor loads. An article on it here:

http://www.concordesst.com/history/events/sia.html


Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #70 on: July 12, 2017, 02:02:02 PM »
There was also a similar partnership between Singapore Airlines and British Airways, but it was short lived due to governments from other countries and poor loads. An article on it here:

http://www.concordesst.com/history/events/sia.html



So they actually put the a/c in Singapore livery, I see.  The Braniff a/c flew with BA markings/colors, no Braniff scheme was ever applied.  Despite that, advertisements and print articles about the Dulles-DFW service routinely showed artist conceptions of Concorde in Braniff colors/markings.

I got to tour a Concorde in the UK (Duxford, I think?) several years ago. I came to the conclusion it was a good thing the flights were shorter duration than standard commercial flights because it couldn't have been very comfortable.  Seating looked very cramped, with minimal pitch. Cockpit also looked cramped compared to other jetliners.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #71 on: July 13, 2017, 05:52:07 AM »
New Zealand woman killed by jet plane takeoff on Caribbean island
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11890187

Occurred at an infamous beach on Sint Maarten known for proximity to aircraft.   



I came to the conclusion it was a good thing the flights were shorter duration than standard commercial flights because it couldn't have been very comfortable.  Seating looked very cramped, with minimal pitch. Cockpit also looked cramped compared to other jetliners.

You do have to remember though that the Concorde expanded during flight ~12-30cm.



If you fly into Heathrow there's still a Concorde parked near the end of one of the runways:

http://www.edparsons.com/2016/08/concorde-208-g-boab-heathrow-england/

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #72 on: July 13, 2017, 09:26:54 AM »

You do have to remember though that the Concorde expanded during flight ~12-30cm.



If you fly into Heathrow there's still a Concorde parked near the end of one of the runways:

http://www.edparsons.com/2016/08/concorde-208-g-boab-heathrow-england/

Isn't that expansion taken up in the fuselage monocoque structure? Even if the expansion due to thermal loading was uniform across the aircraft at speed, it's not going to increase seat width or pitch to the extent it would be discernable to passengers.  I doubt passengers were any more comfortable at Mach 2 than they were subsonic.

There also used to be a plinth mounted Concorde in a traffic island entering/exiting Heathrow, but I can't remember if it was a real a/c or a scale replica.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #73 on: July 13, 2017, 11:10:25 AM »
Isn't that expansion taken up in the fuselage monocoque structure? Even if the expansion due to thermal loading was uniform across the aircraft at speed, it's not going to increase seat width or pitch to the extent it would be discernable to passengers.  I doubt passengers were any more comfortable at Mach 2 than they were subsonic.
Maybe you're right, but I thought I'd seen a video where a flight engineer was showing the camera what expansion was visible in the cockpit during supersonic cruise.
But yeah, 30cm isn't going to matter or be noticeable for passengers anyway.  :D As someone who is 6'4", I'd rather be slightly more uncomfortable for a significantly shorter flight than less uncomfortable for a much longer one.


You might enjoy this video (and the other parts) from the cockpit of a Concorde flight between London and DC:

There also used to be a plinth mounted Concorde in a traffic island entering/exiting Heathrow, but I can't remember if it was a real a/c or a scale replica.
It was a scale replica and has been gone for years. On the same spot there is now an Emirates A380 model:


Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #74 on: July 13, 2017, 12:06:21 PM »
Maybe you're right, but I thought I'd seen a video where a flight engineer was showing the camera what expansion was visible in the cockpit during supersonic cruise.
But yeah, 30cm isn't going to matter or be noticeable for passengers anyway.  :D As someone who is 6'4", I'd rather be slightly more uncomfortable for a significantly shorter flight than less uncomfortable for a much longer one.


You might enjoy this video (and the other parts) from the cockpit of a Concorde flight between London and DC:
It was a scale replica and has been gone for years. On the same spot there is now an Emirates A380 model:



Cool video, part one of four apparently.  I need to watch the other three. Thanks.

Yeah, it's been at least ten years since I flew in/out of Heathrow.  The last few years I was going to London routinely we flew in/out of Gatwick.  I preferred Gatwick over Heathrow anyway, except Heathrow had far better duty free shopping and was very close to a great aviation hobby/book shop (in West Draydon?).  Between that shop and Motor Books in central London, I spent a fortune on books.  I used to take a collapsible, cloth bag in my checked luggage to carry the books home.  I understand Motor Books is out of business, at least as a brick and mortar store.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #75 on: July 13, 2017, 01:13:56 PM »
Cool video, part one of four apparently.  I need to watch the other three. Thanks.

Yeah, it's been at least ten years since I flew in/out of Heathrow.  The last few years I was going to London routinely we flew in/out of Gatwick.  I preferred Gatwick over Heathrow anyway, except Heathrow had far better duty free shopping and was very close to a great aviation hobby/book shop (in West Draydon?).  Between that shop and Motor Books in central London, I spent a fortune on books.  I used to take a collapsible, cloth bag in my checked luggage to carry the books home.  I understand Motor Books is out of business, at least as a brick and mortar store.
Dutyfree shopping is the only attraction to Heathrow. I like real books also, and bookstores. In the age of Amazon and ereaders it is good to see some bookstores are still around and even thriving. My favorite one in London is Daunt Books, apparently they have even opened new locations from the original one in Marylebone. What is cool is they have guest speakers and also have large section arranged by country, so along with travel guides you can read a book written by authors from that country.
https://www.dauntbooks.co.uk/marylebone/

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #76 on: July 13, 2017, 02:52:33 PM »
Yeah, it's been at least ten years since I flew in/out of Heathrow.  The last few years I was going to London routinely we flew in/out of Gatwick.  I preferred Gatwick over Heathrow anyway, except Heathrow had far better duty free shopping and was very close to a great aviation hobby/book shop (in West Draydon?).  Between that shop and Motor Books in central London, I spent a fortune on books.  I used to take a collapsible, cloth bag in my checked luggage to carry the books home.  I understand Motor Books is out of business, at least as a brick and mortar store.

I have never been through Gatwick as the only option for me is a single Emirates a day which doesn't connect well in Dubai. The whole dispute over expanding Heathrow or building a new airport for London seems crazy when you realise Gatwick is in the middle of fields and has only one runway.

I too buy quite a few books in London to take home with me, but I mainly like scifi so just go to the massive Waterstones on Piccadilly Circus or Gosh Comics in Soho. I've heard there's a very good map/atlas/travel bookstore somewhere in London, but for the life of me can't remember which one it was. Maybe I'll take a look at that Daunts Books next time I'm there.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #77 on: July 13, 2017, 05:53:46 PM »
I have never been through Gatwick as the only option for me is a single Emirates a day which doesn't connect well in Dubai. The whole dispute over expanding Heathrow or building a new airport for London seems crazy when you realise Gatwick is in the middle of fields and has only one runway.

I too buy quite a few books in London to take home with me, but I mainly like scifi so just go to the massive Waterstones on Piccadilly Circus or Gosh Comics in Soho. I've heard there's a very good map/atlas/travel bookstore somewhere in London, but for the life of me can't remember which one it was. Maybe I'll take a look at that Daunts Books next time I'm there.
Daunt Books might be the place you mention? They specialize in Travel and associated books (but have regular books and great collection of childrens books also, plus the building is so nice. Not some modern book warehouse but a nice Edwardian building.) I've spent too many nights at Gatwick due to cancelled RyanAir flights to like it at all.

New Zealand women killed by plane takeoff on St Maarten (a popular thrill is to get "blasted" by the planes on take off since the runway is so close to the beach.)
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11890187

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #78 on: July 15, 2017, 04:11:31 PM »

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2017, 04:31:09 PM »


There was an alert fighter (F16) that was involved in a similar incident at Ellington about two weeks ago. I haven't seen any footage of the accident yet. Pilot survived. The plane had a fire on takeoff and since it was an alert bird it was fully armed. They set up a 3 mile evacuation zone while they dealt with the ordnance.

http://www.khou.com/news/local/pilot-ejects-from-burning-f-16-at-ellington-airport/450932479

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #80 on: July 15, 2017, 04:43:31 PM »
There was an alert fighter (F16) that was involved in a similar incident at Ellington about two weeks ago. I haven't seen any footage of the accident yet. Pilot survived. The plane had a fire on takeoff and since it was an alert bird it was fully armed. They set up a 3 mile evacuation zone while they dealt with the ordnance.

http://www.khou.com/news/local/pilot-ejects-from-burning-f-16-at-ellington-airport/450932479

Just from the video of the MIG one it looks like either the landing gear wasn't locked down properly or that it has retracted when it shouldn't have (eg gear lever in the up position on takeoff).
An ejection at ground level like in these incidents can't be good for the body.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #81 on: July 15, 2017, 04:50:24 PM »
Just from the video of the MIG one it looks like either the landing gear wasn't locked down properly or that it has retracted when it shouldn't have (eg gear lever in the up position on takeoff).
An ejection at ground level like in these incidents can't be good for the body.

I guess there is some trade off in the forces involved. Ejection at 150 knots has to be easier than 600 knots. Low altitude means you can't reach terminal velocity on the way down. Not pleasant in any case. Better than CFIT though.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #82 on: July 15, 2017, 05:37:19 PM »
I guess there is some trade off in the forces involved. Ejection at 150 knots has to be easier than 600 knots. Low altitude means you can't reach terminal velocity on the way down. Not pleasant in any case. Better than CFIT though.

The West and the Soviets/Russians have a completely different design philosophy when it comes to ejection seats.  Western seats are optimized for where the vast majority of mishaps occur, relatively low/slow ejections in non-combat situations.  Western seats therefore tend to be lighter weight, offer softer rides during catapult/rocket phases, and get the ejected crewmember under a full chute in the minimal amount of time depending on ejection parameters. 

The Russians take the opposite approach, they design their seats for high speed combat ejections.  As a result, their seats are heavier, give a greater kick in the ass, and sacrifice overall performance to provide greater stability/protection in high dynamic pressure environments created by high ejection speeds.  The Russians also have some well thought out, ejection compatible flight equipment and post ejection survival gear.

There are basically just a handful of ejection seat manufactures in the world today, as opposed to back in the days when most aircraft manufacturers designed/built their own seats.  In the West were have Martin Baker (UK) and UTAS (US), the Russians have Zvesda.  There is a company in Japan that licence builds UTAS seats, and a company in the PRC that builds unlicenced knock-offs of old Martin Baker seats.  Not sure what seats are in the newest PRC indigenous fighters, have yet to see a photo of those seats.  Have also read there was a seat company in the former Yugoslavia, don't know if it still exists.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #83 on: July 15, 2017, 11:41:19 PM »
I guess there is some trade off in the forces involved. Ejection at 150 knots has to be easier than 600 knots. Low altitude means you can't reach terminal velocity on the way down. Not pleasant in any case. Better than CFIT though.
What do you mean by terminal velocity? At least how it relates to being under canopy?

I'd rather take a zero/zero punchout than those crazy F-15 600+ ejections?

These modern seats are so smart, they'll always shoot you into a safe orientation, no matter what your planes orientation is.

peace
Hog

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #84 on: July 15, 2017, 11:56:33 PM »
What do you mean by terminal velocity? At least how it relates to being under canopy?

I'd rather take a zero/zero punchout than those crazy F-15 600+ ejections?

These modern seats are so smart, they'll always shoot you into a safe orientation, no matter what your planes orientation is.

peace
Hog

Terminal velocity as in max speed one can obtain in a freefall in atmosphere. About 120mph if I remember correctly.

Those seats are amazing.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #85 on: July 16, 2017, 12:11:23 PM »


Would be good to go to MAKS one day

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #86 on: July 16, 2017, 12:45:52 PM »
What do you mean by terminal velocity? At least how it relates to being under canopy?

I'd rather take a zero/zero punchout than those crazy F-15 600+ ejections?

These modern seats are so smart, they'll always shoot you into a safe orientation, no matter what your planes orientation is.

peace
Hog

This is a common misconception, but no such seat exists.  Attempts have been made to produce vertical seeking and self righting seats using vectored and/or variable thrust since the 1980s, but none have panned out.  For example Aerojet developed a system they called MAXPAC, an underseat pintal nozzle system, for use on the ACES II seat, but it never went beyond the test stage. 

The biggest challenges in the escape system industry over the past decade have been to make current seats compatible with lightweight/small statured aircrew, primarily females down to 103 lbs, and to successfully integrate all the various helmet mounted gear like cueing systems and night vision googles to prevent head/neck injuries during ejection.  JSF has had problems in both areas with their Martin Baker seat.

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #87 on: July 16, 2017, 10:49:29 PM »
This is a common misconception, but no such seat exists.  Attempts have been made to produce vertical seeking and self righting seats using vectored and/or variable thrust since the 1980s, but none have panned out.  For example Aerojet developed a system they called MAXPAC, an underseat pintal nozzle system, for use on the ACES II seat, but it never went beyond the test stage. 

The biggest challenges in the escape system industry over the past decade have been to make current seats compatible with lightweight/small statured aircrew, primarily females down to 103 lbs, and to successfully integrate all the various helmet mounted gear like cueing systems and night vision googles to prevent head/neck injuries during ejection.  JSF has had problems in both areas with their Martin Baker seat.
I could have sworn I saw a video where the jet was in an adverse  flight orientation and the seat came straight out of the cockpit, but did all this weird maneuvering to have the seat facing forward in a normal config. It was almost like there was a multirocket or vectored rocket going on. Hmm.
I'm wondering if I have this all confused with a sled test of some sort.
So all seats just pop straight up and out and the various chutes deploy?    Are even all non-western systems the same non-"self-righting" types of systems?

You'd think smart ballasting of a seat would make a pilot of less mass, a non issue.  I can see the various optics being an issue, they are bothersome in some regards when wearing them on the ground. The risks would be huge during an ejection.

peace
Hog

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #88 on: July 16, 2017, 11:06:11 PM »
I could have sworn I saw a video where the jet was in an adverse  flight orientation and the seat came straight out of the cockpit, but did all this weird maneuvering to have the seat facing forward in a normal config. It was almost like there was a multirocket or vectored rocket going on. Hmm.
I'm wondering if I have this all confused with a sled test of some sort.
So all seats just pop straight up and out and the various chutes deploy?    Are even all non-western systems the same non-"self-righting" types of systems?

You'd think smart ballasting of a seat would make a pilot of less mass, a non issue.  I can see the various optics being an issue, they are bothersome in some regards when wearing them on the ground. The risks would be huge during an ejection.

peace
Hog

This is short, but pretty cool write up with some videos.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/punching-out-the-story-of-ejector-seats

Re: Aviation Thread - News, facts, questions, photos, videos, etc.
« Reply #89 on: July 17, 2017, 12:46:39 AM »
I could have sworn I saw a video where the jet was in an adverse  flight orientation and the seat came straight out of the cockpit, but did all this weird maneuvering to have the seat facing forward in a normal config. It was almost like there was a multirocket or vectored rocket going on. Hmm.
I'm wondering if I have this all confused with a sled test of some sort.
So all seats just pop straight up and out and the various chutes deploy?    Are even all non-western systems the same non-"self-righting" types of systems?

You'd think smart ballasting of a seat would make a pilot of less mass, a non issue.  I can see the various optics being an issue, they are bothersome in some regards when wearing them on the ground. The risks would be huge during an ejection.

peace
Hog

As I said previously, various attempts have been made to produce vertical seeking/self righting seats for nearly forty years.  All got through some level of testing, so you may have seen film of a full system (sled) test of one of those designs that worked reasonably well in a unique test under the conditions specified.  Overall however, none of the designs tested worked properly under all test conditions and/or were deemed reliable enough to be fielded. 

Seats come out of a/c off guide rails mounted in the cockpit, so their departure is always consistent relative to the aircraft axes.  If the a/c is ass over tea kettle at the time of ejection, the ejected mass will depart the a/c with the same  relative position to the aircraft, despite whatever the position (attitude) of the a/c is relative to its surroundings and the ground.  Once out of the aircraft, the seat will be affected by the various forces (aero, gravity, momentum etc) it sees in free stream as a function of how it entered free stream.  Modern seats have various sub-systems to stabilize them in the free stream, including drogue parachutes, pitch stabilizer rockets, deployable aero surfaces, fins etc, depending on the individual seat.  Stability of an ejected seat/man combination is a relative term to an aerodynamic purist, however.  The goal is have the seat as stable as possible at seat/man separation.

The deployment of chutes (and functioning of all the seat sub-systems necessary to get the seat out of the a/c and then the ejected crewmember released from and out of the seat) are controlled by seat mounted sequencers after they receive initial ejection airspeed and altitude parameters, either from the aircraft or the seat's own self contained sensors. The initiation of various sub systems by the sequencer,  in the correct order and within specific time contraints, ensures the ejectee gets a chute at the optimal (read "earliest") opportunity to get him down safely.  Events in the ejection sequence are measured in milliseconds, and happen very quickly.

The Russian seats work on the same concepts as western seats, but tend to be more brute force in design compared to western seats.  We use a lot of electronic components, they use more mechanical mechanisms.  They also use energetic materials that would never be permitted in the US, explosive/rocket grain chockful of heavy metals and other environmental bad actors.  And no, the Russians do not have a self-righting seat either. 

Since the 50s, the weight range for US pilots/crew flying ejection seat a/c was 140-211lbs, and was limited to men.  As a result, the seats were designed and tested to accomodate and safely eject fliers within that range.  With the decision to allow females to fly ejection seat a/c, the issue was whether a legacy seat, some designed as long ago as the 50s, would injury smaller, lighter ejectees (as low as 103 lbs with lower bone density and different mass moment properties compared to men) either through high catapult/rocket loads or seat instability.  While ballasting might seem to be a solution, the problem is where do you put the ballast? No place to mount 30+ lbs to the seat, and where are you going to store 30+ lbs on a 5'1", 105 lb female pilot?  Lead bars (traditionally used in aircraft ballasting applications) in flight suit pockets? Nope.