Airplane Ejection Seats May Soon Become a Thing of the Past
When you hear the word "ejection seat," a scene from a movie (say, "Die Hard") may be the first thing to pop into your mind—and with reason. It's not often we see this kind of airplane technology being put to use in real life.
Need a refresher on what exactly we're talking about? Start watching right around 1:24:
The main reason for your understandable dissociation is that they aren't used in commercial planes. You will find ejection seats in military jets—and, of course, movie set airplanes.
As successful as the seats are—they've saved more than 7,500 lives to date—the market is shrinking. According to Aviation Week, Martin-Baker, a company producing a majority of the world's ejection seats, has seen a major decline in orders. In the last five years total, Martin-Baker has made "4,000 seats for 13 manufacturers of 18 aircraft types flown in 27 countries."
The reason is simple: there are fewer fighter jets being built as a result of increasing cost. In response, Martin-Baker has been expanding its resume into other seat features, specifically lightweight seats for smaller aircrafts.
While the number of ejection seats being made for fighter jets is decreasing, there's still a good chance you'll be seeing them in especially dramatic airplane escape scenes in action movies to come.