US Aircraft escape Ax

Discussion in 'Aircrew equipment' started by Micdrow, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Found this picture on the net labeled US Aircraft Escape Ax. I never heard of such a thing. Was there such a thing? If so was it used during WWII.

    Link I found picture here
    US WWII Aircraft Escape Axe
     

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  2. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Escape axe were issued to allow for the potential need of a horrific escape from a crashed airplane and the need to hack through the aluminum skin in short order. To the best of my knowledge they were issued through the early 60s to bomber and transport crew. An aeronautical version of a fireaxe.
     
  3. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Hi Matt308,

    Do you know if they where very effective? I would think cutting through a aircraft even with a ax would be very difficult and time consuming.
     
  4. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I don't think they issue them anymore. Perhaps Adler or others might know, but I think they went the way of the Do-do. Effective? Perhaps with lots of energy and room to maneuver. But most post crash scenarios are not so conducive to great physical feats requiring lots of time and concentration.

    Reminds me of the modern day automobile tools that they sell claiming that one end can slice through your seatbelt and the other can shatter a windshield for those unforeseen accident scenarios. Now where do you think that tool will be after a 80G accident? Yep, either in the trunk where the driver stuck it or wedged under the seat/dashboard post accident. A better tool to kill yourself and put the victim out of his/her misery. :lol:
     
  5. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Micdrow,

    >Escape Ax. I never heard of such a thing. Was there such a thing? If so was it used during WWII.

    In the Mosquito FB.6 Pilot's Notes, I found the following mention:

    "69. Emergency Equipment

    ...

    (iii) Crash Axe

    This is stowed at the back of the pilot's seat."

    No idea what a crash axe would look like, though.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  6. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    From the look of the thing, I bet the guys in the pacific loved it for cutting coconuts. The thing looks like a beast. I wouldnt want to get hit by it.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    I used to do aircraft salvage - give me that axe and a few minutes and I'll bust out of any aircraft - even quicker if I saw fire!

    No kidding - we used regular axes and circular chain saws to cut up aircraft. Once you know what you're doing and know where to cut, you could demolish a fair size aircraft pretty quickly.
     
  8. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Joe, any idea on how long it would take you to get out of an aircraft say the size of a B-25 from the inside to out. Trying to take into persespective if you crash landed in enemy territory and had to get out fast but the exits where blocked.
     
  9. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    If you look on airplanes from the 50s and 60s you might notice a red outlined square with the "corners" indicating with text "CUT HERE" for rescue purposes. These axes were the 'inside' version of rescue equipment.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    If i wasn't wounded I would say within a miunte if I was were there was plexiglass - 5 to 10 minutes within the fuselage.

    Just a wag....
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    Yep - and if you sliced away aw those areas you usually had a chunk of the airplane exposed pretty quickly.
     
  12. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Thanks Joe,

    It just sounds wild if you ask me. Ive been in B-25's, B-17's, B-24's, and a Avro Lancaster and it just doesnt sound like a easy job.

    Will take your word for it though. I diffentlly would not want to have to try it. I could see it in a mosquito because its made of wood but didnt think you could cut aluminum that fast with an axe. Especially the ribs of the aircraft. The skin would be easy but I thought it would take a while to make a whole big enough to get a man outside. Sounds alot easier then I thought.

    I just didnt think you could cut through and aircraft so fast with an axe.

    Thanks again guys for the replys.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    You'd be surprised how fast a fire axe goes through .032 or even .060 aluminum.
     
  14. AlloySkull

    AlloySkull Member

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    Wow, that's one neat looking axe. I'd like to find one of those, to have in my militaria collection. Anyway, I do know the power of axes, the sheer weight carried by the head gathers up momentum quick and when handled correctly an axe can tear through just about anything.
     
  15. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    I think you're right about the coconuts!

    Good drinking.
     
  16. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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  17. DOUGRD

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    Actually fire axes just like the one in the picture are still standard equipment. I was part of one of the crews at Northwest Airlines assigned to do the acceptance inspections on Airbus A-320's and the axe is located in the cockpit directly behind the co-pilot. The DC9's, B727's, B747's and B757's all have them. This raises one of the questions I had about the 911 hijackings. If this axe is (and it is) required equipment, when those Arabs broke into the cockpit brandishing box cutters I wonder if anyone tried to go for the axe? Sure would of even up'd the odds in a hurry if the crews could have got to it.
     
  18. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    That is an interesting turn of events. I sure would want to be the one with the axe if I had to go against box cutters.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    Very true! Even a pot of hot coffee would of done the trick.

    When I used to do "heavy iron" checks (727, 737, DC-9s) it would seem the fire axe always "disappeared." It was also amazing how many of the mechanics always seemed to have on in their tool box, in their trunk of thier car or in thier garage!
     
  20. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Its not a regulatory requirement. While I have seen old 737 with them, I have yet to see a modern Part 25 aircraft issued with an escape axe.
     
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