Why The Skywarrior’s Nickname Was All Three Dead
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Not The Best Route
The A3D Skywarrior is the largest aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier. It was introduced in 1956 and was considered a versatile jet-powered bomber that could also be flexed into tanker and electronic warfare platform roles if needed.
However, the Skywarrior doesn’t have one thing that many planes have now – ejection seats. McDonnell Douglas decided to remove ejection seats while designing the Skywarrior for carrier operations to save weight. Instead of ejection seats, the crew of three would have to escape via an emergency slide.
When the pilot pulls the handle attached to his seat, two hatches inside the cockpit would transform into a continuous slide for the pilot, bombardier/navigator, and plane captain to slide out of. A roof hatch was also available as an alternative escape route.
Because of this unique and rather complex way of “ejecting”, it didn’t take long for its aircrews to jokingly refer to the A3D as “All Three Dead.”