Safety issues with F-35’s ejection seat won’t be resolved until 2018

The US Air Force won’t lift weight restrictions on F-35 pilots until 2018 — at the earliest — as more testing needs to be done to address safety issues with the jet’s ejection seat, Defense News has learned. …

If 2014 was the year of the engine, 2015 was the year of the ejection seat. The issue has dogged the Pentagon since last summer, when Defense News revealed concern about increased risk of neck injury to pilots during low-speed ejections prompted the services to ground lightweight pilots. Testing of the seat, built by UK company Martin-Baker, last August showed an “elevated” risk of injury for F-35 pilots weighing under 165 pounds, and an “unacceptable” risk for those under 136 pounds, according to the Air Force.

F-35 Ejection Seat Fix Delayed to 2018; Pilot Restrictions Continue