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Cartridges used in cartridge-actuated person-nel escape devices must function perfectly the first time. Malfunction of the device, or failure to fire when needed, usually results in severe injury to or death of the pilot and crew member( s), and damage to or destruction of the aircraft. Cartridges are carefully designed and manufactured, but their performance in cartridge-actuated devices is dependable only when they have been properly handled and installed. Care must be observed to maintain the devices in perfect condition. Since individual cartridges cannot be tested, the responsibility for proper functioning is in the

Figure 2-23.- SMDC/ FCDC booster tip repair.

hands of the supervisor and the personnel who maintain them. The quality and reliability of an ejection system are largely dependent on the supervisors and the mechanics who maintain the systems. Because the safety precautions presented in this chapter are basic and general in nature, you should consult other publications for the specifics related to the task at hand.


Smoking must be prohibited in any magazine, building, vehicle, or other conveyance or area containing explosives or ammunition; where operations involving such material are conducted; and in the immediate vicinity of handling or loading operations involving explosives or ammunition. Smoking areas maybe designated by the commanding officer.


Naked lights, matches, lighters or other spark, flame, or heat-producing devices must NEVER be taken or stowed in magazines or other areas containing explosives.


If a cartridge is removed from a cartridge-actuated device, it should be marked for identification so it can be reinstalled in the same device. A deformed or dented cartridge or CAD might not fit properly in the equipment for which it was designed; therefore, in handling, special care must be exercised to prevent them from being struck or dropped.


Under no circumstances should any person reach within or enter an enclosure for the purpose of servicing or adjusting explosive equip-ment without the immediate presence or assistance of another person capable of rendering aid.


Operational activities must not apply anti-corrosive materials to CADs. When anticorrosive material is being applied to any item in the vicinity of CADs or associated equipment, every pre-caution will be exercised to prevent contamina-tion of the CADs or associated equipment.

Contamination of CADs can have a detrimental effect on the function of the system. Shock Electrically initiated cartridges must be kept away from stray electrical currents. Under certain conditions, dangerous potentials can be stored in circuits after the power source has been dis-connected because of charges retained by capacitors. To avoid casualties, you should always disconnect the power source and discharge and ground circuits prior to touching them.


All malfunctions, discrepancies, and accidents involving CADs must be reported by message to NAVORDSTA, Indian Head, Maryland in accordance with OPNAVINST 4790.2. If the suspected defect is with the CAD, the message must be addressed to NAVORDSTA for action. If the report describes an inadvertent actuation of an aircraft system resulting in the CAD functioning normally, the action copy of the report must be submitted to the cognizant field activity (CFA) for the aircraft with an informa-tion copy to NAVORDSTA, Indian Head, Maryland. Accidents and incidents involving CADS may require reporting in accordance with OPNAVINST 3750.6 in addition to the OP-NAVINST 4790.2. Submission of the reports required by the maintenance instruction does not satisfy the requirements of the safety instruction. If dual reporting is required, you should ensure the reports are adequately cross-referenced to satisfy the requirements of all commands involved. All CADs suspected of being inconsistent, of malfunctioning, or of being involved in an accident or incident must be clearly identified and turned in to the station or ship's ordnance or weapons department. Mark the item "hold for 30 days for engineering investigation (EI) pending disposition instructions." The report should contain the turn-in document number and identify the activity holding the material. If CFA response is requested, NAVORDSTA will respond with complete disposition and shipping instructions. If a response is not received within 15 days, a follow-up message must be sent to NAVORDSTA to verify their receipt of the original report. All cartridges and cartridge-actuated devices must be handled as live ammunition. Cartridges or cartridge-actuated devices that have been fired may retain an explosive residue capable of presenting a hazardous condition. The ejection seat, parachutes, and survival equipment with installed CADs must be stored and handled by authorized personnel only. They must be stored and handled only in an area designated and approved by the maintenance officer. Safety devices and pins must be kept in good condition and used only with the individual CAD for which they were designed. When a loaded cartridge-actuated device is not in use, the safety device or pin must be installed. Substitute materials must not be used to replace safety pins installed in CADs. If inlet and outlet ports are present in a CAD, they must be covered with a protective cap. If a protective cap is not available, you should use the shipping cap when the device is not installed. Except in an emergency and by proper authority, CADs must not be installed in or removed from aircraft during fueling or defuel-ing operations. CADs installed on or in ejection seats, parachutes, or survival equipment that remain installed during maintenance evolutions do not require removal prior to storage in the maintenance space. CADs removed from ejection seats, parachutes, or survival equipment must be properly safetied and protective caps and plugs must be installed as required. Removed CADs must be stored in a ready-service magazine approved for Class C ammunition storage unless they are required for reinstallation on the same day; in which case, they must be stored in the area approved by the maintenance officer.


When the sealed inner container of a CAD is opened, all CADs in the container must be stenciled with indelible ink to show the computed container open date and expiration date. Before inserting a cartridge in a cartridge-actuated device, the cartridge expiration date must be checked to ensure the cartridge will not become overage before the next periodic maintenance of the air-craft in which it is to be installed.

Problem Areas

The Naval Safety Center receives messages of interest to AMEs. The following paragraphs contain a few examples of some of the problems that have been received by the safety center related to ejection seats.

Several instances have been reported con-cerning cartridges stuck in ejection seat systems. This problem is not new, but it still warrants concern as the problem still exists. Some of the causes of stuck CADs are overtorquing during installation, incorrect tools used for removal and installation, and the use of incorrect seals or lubricants. To avoid stuck CADs, you should ensure that correct procedures and parts are used during installation. If correct procedures are followed, the CADs should not stick and removal with the prescribed tool should be possible. Another message described two ejection seats that required 150 man-hours each to treat for corrosion. This is a tremendous amount of time to spend for corrosion control on ejection seats. If a unit waits until a major inspection cycle to treat a system for corrosion, it will require extensive man-hours to remove corrosive properties that have formed. Most metals will corrode, but the corrosion can be controlled. Remember, the 7-, 14-, and 28-day inspections provide the opportunity to discover corrosive areas and to treat them before they become major problems. Ejection seats and ejection system components that have been used in an ejection or fired are prohibited from being used to locally construct squadron or unit training services. The policy of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is that ejection seat maintenance and aircrew training will be provided in a formally structured course of instruction. An aircraft's ejection system is an aviator's last resort to save his/ her life when disaster is imminent. The system must be maintained with the highest standards of workmanship possible.


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