Concorde Escape Hatches

 

Not fitted to production aircraft just to Prototype and Pre-Production the escape hatch was a necessary requirement of test aircraft of the day. Test Crew's had one of the most dangerous jobs in the world at that time, while Concorde was in development the aircraft was pushing into unknown territiory so escape hatches were designed in to these aircraft.

The escape hatch was designed as a "last resort" means of getting out of the aircraft. From speaking to the original test crew members they were certainly not keen to use them.

 

It could be possible if the aircraft was beyond saving that the crew would have to jump out of the aircraft at Mach 2 and 60,000 feet!

 

In reality the escape hatches were never used in anger and the test program went smoothly and without any loss of test aircraft.

Escape Procedure

In the event of the aircraft being damaged beyond being saved or if a catastrophic incident were to occur the Chief test pilot would activate the emergeny evacuation beacon which would indicate to the crew that the aircraft was in trouble and to prepare for evacuation.

The crew would put on their pressure suits, helmets and parachutes and wait for the escape hatches to be opened to evacuate the aircraft . The Chief test pilot would activate the hatches by use of the hatch switches in the cockpit, there was also a manual method the crew could use in the event of power failure.

The crew were then expected to evacuate the aircraft by jumping out of the hatch

The hatches would literally be blown out of the aircraft and a wind break would be lowered into the stream of air passing over the aircraft's fuselage, once the hatch was ready for use the green "hatch ready" light would illuminate

Hatch ready lights
Hatch ready lights

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Hatch ready!
Hatch ready!

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Hatch ready
Hatch ready

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Hatch ready lights
Hatch ready lights

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Technical detail - Concorde 101 G-AXDN

Left; 

Location of the escape hatches and escape hatch controls. 

Below;

G-AXDN Fwd Escape hatch. Inner door is open and the outer door is closed for display purposes

Below;

G-AXDN Mid Escape hatch. Inner door is closed and the outer door is closed

Hatch detail

Snap jack detail

The only image of an escape hatch being tested, this is G-AXDN with a net to catch the ejected outer door.  Image copyright; Christian Julius

Other images