The story of a fighter pilot who had no choice but to unstrap, stand on the ejection seat, squat, and defecate directly into his helmet bag may sound like an urban legend; however, do enough research, and you’ll discover fellow pilots who’ve heard the rumors and don’t doubt it’s true.
When you think about the demands of being a fighter pilot, the story doesn’t seem so far-fetched. As impressive as the cockpit of a modern fighter jet is with all its high-tech bells and whistles, the one thing it’s not equipped with is a lavatory. And when you think about how futuristic and expensive fighter pilot helmets are with their voice commands and night vision, it’s a shame to think that its bag was used to catch poop.
The urge to answer nature’s call can hit a fighter pilot when they least expect it; it doesn’t matter if they’re on a critical mission or a training flight. When the need to pee or poop occurs, they typically only have a couple of choices.
They can either “go” in their flight suits and face the later embarrassment. There’s a lot of clean up involved, including a thorough scrubbing of the seat cushion and, to save everyone the trouble and for sanitary reasons, the seat may even be simply discarded and replaced. It costs the government money.
Another option the pilot has if they’re airborne and need a bathroom is to turn around, land, and make a run for the nearest facilities. But what if you’re on a Navy jet and landing your aircraft requires reshuffling the other planes on the ship’s flight deck?
Landing your jet anytime you please at the base isn’t as easy as it sounds either as the Air Force monitor all launching and landing sessions. Therefore, landing the jet because the pilot has to use the facilities also costs the government money as it requires using up jet fuel and workforce to arrange the landing.
Personal and Portable Lavatory Systems for Fighter Jet Pilots
Portable Waste Bags are the most cost-effective and most sanitary solution for fighter jet pilots. With Brief Relief Disposable Urinal Bag and Disposa-John Portable Restroom, fighter jet pilots have a patented “bag-in-bag” solution that takes care of any solid or liquid waste.
Multiple enclosures seal the waste and odor while the enzymes and polymers break down the waste and convert it into a deodorized gel. Unlike peeing in a regular plastic bag or an air sickness bag, there’s no sloshing or spillage of liquids because the wastes have been solidified in a gel state.
Brief Relief bags have a 3-layer barrier bag system that makes it highly puncture-resistant. While there are challenges on using it mid-flight, it wouldn’t be any different to the pilot who unstrapped, pulled down his suit, and went in his helmet bag. The difference with using a wag bag is that the pilot won’t soil their government-issued uniform and equipment. They also don’t have to face the humiliation when they land and need to explain to fellow soldiers and their superior what happened.
Because wag bags are easily cinched closed, sealed, and rolled up, the pilot can store it away after use, and throw it away discreetly in a regular trash can once they’ve landed.