There are many, many vehicle related jobs out there. Ranging from the normal ones – like mechanics and bus drivers – to the extraordinary ones – like racing drivers and fighter pilots. And then there are jobs which are truly breathtaking, either because they’re so mind-blowingly awsome, or so ridiculously dangerous. Usually a combination of the two.
Listed here are 5 jobs which are so extreme only a special kind of person would even think of showing up for their first day.
1. Zeppelin sub-cloud car airman
During the First World War, German airships were used on bombing and reconaissance missions on both the Western and Eastern fronts. In an effort to improve both the accuracy of the bombs, and also get a better look at the enemy during spy missions, the Germans developed a special one-man gondola which could be lowered from the airship, sometimes up to 1,000 metres (3,280 feet)! Inside, the lonely crewman was supplied with a compass, maps, an electric lamp, binoculars and a telephone which was connected to the airship. From here the crewman could tell the airship captain above where Zeppelin was and what direction to head. The Zeppelin itself was usually above, or in, the clouds ensuring that anti-aircraft gunners below had no chance of seeing it. After the war the U.S. Navy breifly experimented with sub-cloud cars.
2. Human Crash Test Dummy
Pictured above is Rusty Haight, a real-live crash test dummy. Rusty has been a willing participant in over 1,000 car accidents, all in the name of research. His highest-speed crash (as of 2005) was 53 mph, but his most serious injury is only a minor cut from an airbag deployment. Rusty is no stuntman though. All his crashes are designed to help better understand the forces at work and what can be done to save lives and reduce injuries. He also acts as an independent expert for various police forces, especially in cases of hit-and-runs.
3. Ejector Seat Tester
Believe it or not, but the ejector seat has been around since 1916! This early version used compressed air – although it was never actually tested. The first pilot to be saved by an ejector seat was Helmut Schenk, who ejected from his out-of-control prototype Heinkel He 280 jet fighter in 1940. Since then, ejector seats have gone on to save the lives of well over 7,500 aircrew. But to get from the early days of the ejector seat to the modern rocket-powered units took testing. Lots of testing. Sometimes with mannequins, and sometimes with willing volunteers. Pictured above is U.S. Navy Chief Machinist C.E. Storm ejecting from a perfectly good Douglas JD-1 Invader as part of a testing program in 1951.
4. Deep Sea Sub Pilot
People who are prone to claustrophobia shouldn’t go in regular submarines. And they probably shouldn’t even look at manned deep sea submersibles. Some of these vehicles are capable of going to the very bottom of the ocean, quite literally miles below the waves. Pictured here is the Canadian-built Pisces-class deep sea submersible. It can carry three people to a depth of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), and to be honest that’s lightweight in the world of deep sea subs. But even at those depths, if there was a structural failure, the sub would implode without warning in the blink of an eye.
Astronauts have one of the most amazing jobs
on off the planet. It takes intelligence, skill, hard work, dedication and immense bravery to be selected to go up into space as part of a NASA mission. Perhaps the most extreme form of astronauts are those who get to go outside for a space walk. Connected to their vehicle, or the ISS, by just a simple tether. In the mid-’80s there was also the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit). A sort of zero-g jet pack that let astronauts whizz around space completley independent of the shuttle. It was only used on three shuttle missions before it was retired for being too risky.