As Ejectee #4344, I am the proud owner of the coveted Martin-Baker tie. I ejected from an EA-6A “Electric” Intruder in February, 1991 after a total hydraulic failure. The airplane went totally out of control. My fellow crew member, LT Linda Heid (now Maloney) and I were about 18 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida and the ocean was VERY cold. We had been working with the USS Forrestal Battle Group, some 80 miles off the coast but we were at a point where the rescue effort was closer to us coming from land rather than the aircraft carrier which was substantially further away at sea.
We did not eject under the most desirable conditions, like the times we had practiced in training. The aircraft had violently snap-rolled into a rapid, nose low, diving spiral from around 15, 000 feet. I had applied full right rudder and full, aft right stick to try to counter this with no response from the airplane. After Linda ejected, I reached for the lower ejection handle and pulled–accepting the circumstances that I was going out under less than optimum conditions. Everything worked as advertised.
Now, when I look at the GRUEA-7 ejection seats on aircraft parked in museums, I never cease to be amazed at all the bellcranks, pushrods, cabling, etc. that make up the seat and all work in concert to expeditiously extract a crew member that needs to make a hasty exit. I salute the designers, engineers and technicians who have made such a remarkable device that saved my life and that of my fellow crew member.
CDR Stanton V. Parsons, USN, (Ret.) #4344