Emergency Bailout Aid – NOAH
Already in 1995 DG’s engineers had started thinking about a mechanism which would support an emergency bailout. The development began rapidly. Together with Augsburg’s former balloon factory and engineer Thomas Matuschak a system was designed which should simplify and above all make an emergency bailing out of a sailplane’s cockpit easy. In 2002 NOAH (short form of the German expression “NOtAusstiegsHilfe”) was then officially approved. Since that time, DG Flugzeugbau has been offering this important safety feature for all DG-single seaters as well as with our LS8 and LS10.
Most pilots are well aware that an emergency bailout is an issue of only seconds. However, according to the German Federal Aviation Office’s (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) accident statistics, half of all accidents that required a bailout ended fatally.
A quick emergency bailout is usually hampered by multiple factors:
- A low seating position is disadvantageous for bailing out,
- Small and narrow cockpits make it difficult to raise your body with your arms,
- High accelerating forces, often exceeding 2g,
- Pilot’s physical constitution or injury after a mid air.
Prompt bailout thanks to NOAH
Our patented NOAH-System is helping a pilot to very quickly get out of his cockpit in an emergency situation. The system’s main element is an air cushion to be inflated by pressurized gas, installed under the pilot’s seat. It may be compared to a car’s airbag. When operating a handle the cushion is puffed up in just a second and thus securely pushes the pilot out of his cockpit. The bailout procedure is therefore reduced to only a fraction of the typical bailout time.
Composition of the system
The folded NOAH air cushion is space savingly placed under the pilot’s seat pan. It is connected to a small high pressure cylinder, equipped with a valve, via a hose.
NOAH’s release handle is well accessible attached to the cockpit’s side. Once activated, it automatically unbuckles the safety belt lock and opens the pressure bottle’s valve. The air cushion is then inflated with a pressure of 200bar (~ 2900psi) in just one second, pushing the pilot upwards and above the cockpit’s side.
To avoid the pilot crashing against the closed canopy, the NOAH release mechanism cannot be started before bucking it off.
The bailout procedure is consequently reduced to 2 simple steps:
- Ejecting the canopy
- Pulling on the NOAH release handle
Gross weight of all components: ca. 3,5 kg
Pressurization: nitrogen, 200 bar / ~2900 psi
Inflation time: ca. 0,7 sec.
Design range (pilot weight 110 kg) up to 4g
In 2015, with TN DG-G-11, our NOAH-system was further improved. NOAH’s pressurized gas cylinder is now equipped with a pressure gauge, which simplifies checking the system’s pressure. By altering the air cushion we could further enhance the inflation process and so advance its safety.
Fortunately NOAH can now also be integrated into several gliders built by Schempp-Hirth and Alexander-Schleicher. Further information can be obtained at LTB Güntert + Kohlmetz GmbH.
A personal story:
As a member of the German WGC-team Michael Eisele participated in the 2017 World Gliding Championship in Benalla/Australia. The contest was held in sometimes difficult conditions, and pilots were often flying in huge gaggles. Participants witnessed and reported a number of near mid-airs. Unfortunately Michael and a second competitor actually experienced a real one. Both pilots had to bail out of their gliders. Here is Michael’s personal accident report:
„At the moment of the crash at Australia’s 2017 WGC I found myself in a really fortunate situation because my glider was in a relatively advantageous flight attitude. With only a small loss of altitude and merely little g-loads I could leave the cockpit and jump out of my glider. The other pilot was not as lucky. His glider was spinning and he had to fight high g-loads to get out of his cockpit and bail out. The whole procedure cost him more than 1000 meters of altitude, but fortunately ended good for him. In his situation the NOAH system would definitely have been more than useful. This mid-air and my experience gained from the crash have opened my eyes, and my next glider – no matter what kind it’ll be – will definitely be equipped with a NOAH bailout system. Looking at today’s sailplane and equipment prices the additional costs for such a system cannot be an argument against such life saving gear.”