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Runaway Electric Seat Procedure

The following is from “To Fly The Concorde” by Ken Larsen. Mr. Larsen quotes an unknown student in Concorde training.

Initial Action: Determine which seat is running away. During the stress of routine operations, it is possible to mistake which seat is running away. Example: if the captain’s seat is out of control forward, it shall appear to the captain that the first officer’s is running backwards. This is a common form of disorientation and will only last until the captain is emasculated on the control column. Do not disengage the autopilot at this time as a violent pitch down will result. In order to determine which seat is the runaway, suggested procedure is to awaken the flight engineer for trouble shooting. Silence Aural Warnings: With the advent of a runaway seat, crew members describe noises of a low rumbling nature, followed by the words “Jesus, my seat is out of control,” followed by a piercing scream of increasing intensity and pitch, especially in the case of forward runaways. As with all emergencies and in order to comply with regulations, the first officer will silence the aural warnings by clamping a hand over the captain’s mouth and advise, “captains mouth — shut.” From this point on, refer to the checklist located on the underside of the captain’s seat cushion. Jammed Balls: Should the seat runaway in the forward mode, the ball bearings will interlock and jab the seat when it is four inches from the control panel. The seat will then be stuck in the forward position and will travel no further forward, but begin travelling up in a vertical mode. The captain will advise crew, “I have jammed ball,” the flight engineer will immediately refer to the Captain’s Jammed Balls Checklist located in the aft lavatory. It is imperative that the crew check for control column damage at this time. If the control column is broken, the crew will immediately advise dispatch that the captain has a broken stick and jammed balls. Circuit Breaker — Pull: The flight engineer will at this time pull the appropriate circuit breaker to prevent the seat from running up further in the vertical mode which could cause the bearings to overheat and and possibly result in a ball burst. This would necessitate the use of the Broken Ball Checklist. Since the engineer can rarely find the correct CB, it is suggested that any CB be picked at random and pulled, so as not to delay completion of the checklist. Example: Pull #1 CB; captains position will prevent him from cross-checking this step. Fire, Check: When the seat bearings jam and stop forward seat travel, the electric motor may short out and start a fire under the captain, resulting in a captain’s lower aft body overheat. The flight engineer will immediately advise the captain of the fire, to which the captain will reply, “Fire, my butt.” Seat up — Up: Should the seat continue to run away in the vertical mode, the first officer will advise “seat up,” to which the captain will reply “molxjrmne craxmby.” Captains reply will vary with height to which his seat has risen. It is suggested procedure to place a pillow on the captain’s head and land at the nearest suitable airport. (To Fly the Concorde, by Ken Larsen, Tab Books, Inc, Blue Ridge Summit, PA, 1982, ISBN 0-8306-2342-6)