(Reno, Nv) United States Navy fighter pilots of all ages gathered last week to say hello to old friends, swap stories, and receive updates on the current state of Naval aviation here.
Many of those stories had to do with safe ejections using Martin-Baker ejection seats from the GRU-7 to today’s Mk-14 NACES. At the Martin-Baker booth, aviators had the opportunity to show their families the NACES seat, watch videos of ejection tests and live ejections, as well as examine the latest ejection seat in the F-35C, the US-16E.
One of the biggest differences in the two seats is the improved seat pan moulding on the US-16E that provides pilots with a more comfortable ride, yet still gives them a proper posture and ability to survive ejections. The current crop of F/A-18 pilots were amazed at the difference it made and were curious if that modification could be made to their seat.
“Both of our seats here are amazing,” said Andrew Martin, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing. “To have the opportunity to talk with Naval aviators about their experiences is invaluable as we continue to engineer the next generation of seats, as well as perhaps modify existing seats like NACES to be more comfortable. Martin-Baker and the U.S. Navy have a relationship dating back to the 1940s and events like Tailhook allow us to show our appreciation to the pilots and aircrew who fly in our seats and exchange ideas.”
One of the highlights of the week were the approximately 50 ejectees who came by the booth to say hello. Some brought their families, and many found their names on our wall of ejectee names, where our legacy of saving lives is living history and testament to the Martin-Baker product.
We had the good fortune to have visits by our 6,000th ejectee, RADM John “Oscar” Meier and his wife, and our 7,500th ejectee, CDR Mike “Chopper” Rovenolt and his wife.
“Next year we are planning an event for our ejectees to give us a chance to say thank you to them,” Martin said. “The ejection seat is the one component on an aircraft you never want to use, but when you need it then it must perform perfectly. We are extremely thankful it has worked so well for these aviators. We are also thankful for everyone at Martin-Baker who work tirelessly that others may live.”
Martin-Baker looks forward to a continued relationship with the U.S. Navy and the Tailhook Association, and are already preparing our plans for next years’ convention.
Martin-Baker, headquartered in Denham, has more than 17,000 seats in service in 90 countries and 56 airframes.