In November 1998 I ejected using a Martin-Baker seat. 21 years later, I have seen my two sons grow up into amazing young men after being small boys at the time of my accident. I have immense respect and gratitude for the utterly professional people who work at Martin-Baker. I can never adequately express my respect and thanks to all of the team, but I would like them to know that their work has made a huge difference to the life that my sons experienced; without the Martin-Baker seat there is no way that I would have survived. Thank you so much to everyone, no matter the role they fulfil, at Martin-Baker.
(UXBRIDGE) Martin-Baker attended the Uxbridge College Annual Awards Ceremony in September to receive the Apprentice Employer of the Year Award.
Martin-Baker currently has 15 apprentices enrolled at Uxbridge College studying a combination of Level 3 and Level 4 Mechanical Engineering qualifications, more than any other mechanical engineering company involved with the college.
Based in Denham, Martin-Baker has extremely high standards of training within the apprenticeship programme. The company also stretch learners well beyond the minimum requirements, ensuring that apprentices and trainees are rewarded according to their performance.
“We are very proud of our apprenticeship scheme and of our apprentices,” commented Natalie Drake (Senior HR Advisor at Martin-Baker). “It is an important part of the Martin-Baker programme preparing ourselves for the future. Thank you to everyone who plays a part in the recruitment, education and training of our apprentices – it is appreciated.”
John Atkinson (Cell Leader and In-House NVQ Assessor), Sophie Claesen (2nd Year Apprentice) and Jack Winter (4th Year Apprentice) are pictured here at the ceremony proudly receiving the award for Martin-Baker from Junior Ogunyemi.
“On September 28, 1969 two Aermacchi MB326 had a mid air collision and crashed into the Adriatic Sea. All four pilots saved their life thanks to the perfect operation of their Martin-Baker MK-4 ejection seats.
I am one of those pilots, and exactly fifty years later, to day September 28, 2019, I wish to express once again my true appreciation and gratitude primarily to the founders Sir James Martin and Captain Valentine Baker and also to all the staff of Martin-Baker family business . Since 1946 with their intelligence and work they have contributed to save thousands of pilot lives.
One particular thank comes also from my daughter that was born in the same day 29 years later.”
Former Fl. Lt. Alberto Gagliardi
(DENVER) The NAHF “Spirit of Flight” Award is presented each year to a group or an organisation for their outstanding achievements or contributions to aviation. It was copyrighted and authorised by the Board of Trustees in 1981. It was renamed in honour of Milton Caniff in 1988. In 2000, acclaimed artist Roy Grinnell created the NAHF “Spirit of Flight” artwork, shown below. The original and limited edition prints were commissioned through the generosity of NAHF Lifetime Patron, Stewart McMillan, in memory of his father, Clyde H. McMillan.
Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Limited employs over 1000 people worldwide, with approximately 180 at Martin-Baker America headquartered in Johnston, Pennsylvania. MB America is responsible for the manufacture and assembly of escape systems and crashworthy seats for the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Army. MB America has over 5,000 seats in aircraft at 52 bases across 42 states. The Mk16 ejection seat is fitted in the T-38 and T-6 training aircraft, and the F-35. The entire fleet of US Navy aircraft with ejection seats have the MBA Naval Aircrew Ejection Seat (NACES). Over 2,500 American Airmen were saved during Vietnam using MBA ejection seats, and since that time another 1,000 Americans have ejected in a variety of aircraft and have been safely returned to their families.
For indisputably setting the standard for ejection and crashworthy seats, providing pilots worldwide a primary added layer of safety, and having saved over 7,600 people around the world the National Aviation Hall of Fame is proud to present Martin-Baker Aircraft Company with the 2019 Spirit of Flight Award. John Martin, the Joint Managing Director at Martin-Baker traveled out to receive the award at the 2019 Enshrinement in Denver, Colorado.
“I would just like to say thank you to the committee for awarding us such a prestigious award. It would have made my father (Sir James Martin) so proud and I feel as he looks down now at his legacy it is something that would put a huge smile on his face,” said Martin-Baker’s John Martin. “There’s nothing my father loved better than saving peoples lives. After he lost his great friend and partner Captain Valentine Baker to an aircraft accident, he dedicated his whole life to lifesaving equipment. I would also like to thank Greg Ulmer for presenting the award, Lockheed Martin are such a fantastic company so thank you so much Greg.”
My sincere thanks to everyone at Martin-Baker, past and present, for making ejection seats that save lives. On October 25, 1994, while on approach to USS Abraham Lincoln, we lost power in our left engine 8 to 10 seconds before landing and our F-14A subsequently departed from controlled flight. I ejected at approximately 60 feet above sea level, rolling through 70 degree left angle of bank.
I was out of position for ejection when I grabbed the lower handle, so my head was pinned to my chest throughout the ejection sequence, which provided an excellent view of seat-man separation and parachute deployment. The seat worked flawlessly.
Bob Ankerson visited Chalgrove to watch an ejection test from one of the Martin-Baker Meteor aircraft, he didn’t manage to get any pictures when he used a MK10 on the 24th January 1991 over Iraq! He was a navigator in the RAF for 34 years, flying Vulcans and Tornado GR1 and while serving on 17(F) Squadron at RAF Bruggen, he deployed to Saudi Arabia in January 1991 and flew in the first Gulf War. On the first mission across the border, he ejected from a burning GR1 Tornado, was captured by Iraqi forces and was a prisoner of war until released into the care of the International Red Cross on 5th March 1991. Most of the time in captivity was in solitary, with limited food, so his weight on the way home was significantly less than when deployed straight after excesses of Christmas and New Year. On returning to RAF Bruggen he was invited to join the Royal Air Forces ex-Prisoners of War Association and after a few years membership he became a committee member. Later on he became further involved as a trustee of the Larry Slattery Memorial Fund and the Association’s own charitable fund.
After viewing the test ejection there was the opportunity to take a short flight with our Meteor pilot, Andy Gent in a Pitts Special. It had been some time since Bob and Andy had flown together. Another significant flight they shared was on the 19th February 1990 when they flew a low level sortie in Northern Germany in a Tornado ZA 403, this ended up in the desert on 24th January 1991 as a heap of scrap at 3033N 04708E after seat Number 1031 had saved Simon Burgess and seat number 1075 had saved Bob Ankerson. Bob has said that every day since is a bonus, and he & Chris Ankerson say thanks to all at Martin-Baker every time they go around the M25 and see the factory.
At 8 pm (20:00 hours) on November 10, 1977 Lcdr. Jeff Cook and I (I was a Lieutenant then) started our night briefing in the VF-142 ‘Ghostriders’ ready room for a routine night training flight. Our carrier was the USS America, CV-66, operating in the eastern half of the Mediterranean. Little did we know it would be anything but routine.
The briefing with Lt. ‘Bull’ Lindsay and Lt. ‘Gilly’ Gilbert as our wingmen took just a little over an hour; we discussed the conduct of the mission, the types of night intercepts, and of course the ‘emergency-of-the day’; we then donned our flight gear and made our way to our assigned aircraft on the flight deck; Jeff and I manned Dakota 210 (our squadron call sign); engine starts began 30 minutes prior to our scheduled 22:00 launch with a recovery time of midnight.
As we made our way to the catapult under the direction of the ‘yellow shirt’ directors, we commented how really dark it was…we were below a heavy overcast so there was no moon or starlight visible…we would launch into that ‘black hole’ off the bow. Jeff and I had flown many night missions before; the launch operation was pretty much standard.
We rendezvoused with our wingmen above the overcast, proceeded to our assigned area of operation, and commenced our night intercept training against each other…again pretty much standard…high to low re-attacks and high speed intercepts. Following our training completion, we each proceeded to ‘marshal’ (the standard night holding pattern) and Jeff and I commenced our approach to the carrier at our scheduled ‘push time’. We were assigned to be second to land as an A-7 Corsair was assigned as the first aircraft ‘down the pike’. The A-7 got a ‘fouled deck’ wave-off…that made us now the next one in order.
Final landing checks were complete: gear down, flaps down, hook down, harness locked, switches safe…now just fly the ‘ball’… on-speed…meatball / line-up / angle of attack.
My normal positioning during landing was to peer over the pilot’s left shoulder, observe the landing sequence…monitor the ‘meatball’, lineup, angle-of attack, and airspeed…with my right hand holding the ‘alternate ejection handle
We passed over the ship’s round-down, centered ball, and caught the #3 arresting gear wire. We started the normal deceleration when suddenly the aircraft jerked…and a fraction of a second later we experienced another jerk …and then we stopped decelerating! We had experienced an arresting gear failure, and we were moving down the angled deck with no more runway left, and not enough airspeed to fly!
I pulled the ‘alternate’ ejection handle. Jeff also pulled his ejection handle, but later commented that the sequence seemed to be quite quick…so most likely I started the dual ejection sequence a fraction of a second before he did. Time compression does exist during such events, and even though the ‘ejection process’ is only around a half second it seemed as though the seat was not working. We were surrounded in a ‘ring of fire’ (that was the firing of the explosive bolts that blow the canopy away) and then I felt the seat go up. When the rocket motor ignited, the brightness forced me to close my eyes, and I felt as if I was tumbling through the air. I ejected while Dakota 210 was still on the flight deck; Jeff got out just as the plane was leaving the angled deck. We both had good chutes, the Tomcat went ‘nose over’ into the sea, and Martin-Baker worked as advertised!
When my chute opened, I could look directly at the tower, so I gave the Air Boss a ‘thumbs up’…he didn’t see me as it was too dark. I loosened my oxygen mask, removed my gloves, and then hit the water…and it was cold!
With my seat-pan and life raft not deployed, and me in full flight gear, well I went under about 6 feet under and had to kick my way to the surface to catch my breath. The sea state was somewhat rough, so I bounced around a bit (we were trained not to deploy our life vest until we were in the water lest we rupture a bladder)…but as I activated my life vest I also got my legs tangled in the parachute shroud lines while treading water. If that wasn’t enough, some of the flight deck directors were throwing their floating yellow flashlight wands into the water to mark my spot. Trouble was, some wands came pretty close to hitting me!
The carrier passed right on by; it just kept on moving…and away it went. Jeff and I could shout at each other, but could not see each other. The plane guard helicopter passed right over me, located Jeff, and I watched as the swimmer was lowered, and the two of them were lifted into the craft. Then the helo left the area! Jeff told the crew: “Hey, my RIO is out there, we were shouting to each other!” The pilot responded: “We need to get back to the ship for the rest of the aircraft recovery; the ship is directing another helo about 50 miles away to go get him”. (Note: Even though the helo passed directly over me, the crew did not see me.)
With the helo and the ship no longer in sight, it got pretty lonely out there; the night was so dark I could only find my survival gear by feel, but I got my flares ready… and the cold water was starting to get to me too. After what seemed to be a lengthy time, I heard the sound of a helo approaching…and was I ready with my pencil flares…I fired one, then another, then another. The helo proceeded directly toward me.
The rescue swimmer was lowered by cable, and the actions he performed were exactly as expected…our training again paid off. When we landed, I went directly to medical for observation. I had no physical problems, and was released to sleep that night in my stateroom.
A few days later, Jeff and I were once again flying…and 210 rested at the bottom of the Mediterranean.
Epilog: Thirty-nine years later I was speaking to a group of USS America re-union guests visiting the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach where I volunteer as a docent. I asked: “Did anyone here make the 1977 deployment, and do you remember an F-14 with two flyers ejecting at night when a wire broke?” A couple of people responded: “Yes, I remember that, I was on the flight deck”.
“Well”, I said, “ I was one of those flyers”.
And from the back of the group came a voice: “And I was the rescue swimmer who got you out!”
YES! AWAN Tom Hayes was there, and he was the one who hooked me up, and we rode the cable up to the rescue helo. Folks…we had a grand reunion.
(WASHINGTON) Martin-Baker Aircraft Co., Ltd., received a prestigious award from one of the leading defence manufacturers in the world during a recent suppliers conference.
Lockheed Martin presented Martin-Baker with the Supplier Award for Outstanding Warfighter Support to the Joint Strike Fighter programme as an audience of some 200 fellow suppliers watched.
Kevin Hutchins, Senior Programme Manager for JSF, was on hand to receive this award for Martin-Baker. The company were recognized for our efforts in supporting the improved schedule for the Ejection Seat Maintenance Policy (MPoL). According to the award citation, Martin-Baker went above and beyond expectations by going out on our own risk to procure and package hardware for six different MPoL kits in order to meet stand-up requirements at six bases in 2019. Additionally, we were cited for diligently working our supply chain to pull in MPoL Phase 2 and Phase 3 first-article hardware and improving delivery time by as much as 22 weeks.
“It was an honour to accept the award on behalf of Martin-Baker. We work hard to ensure we deliver our parts not only to meet the requirements, but to exceed them,” Hutchins said.
“As a company this is part of our ethos; providing the customer with the best product and parts at the right time and the best price,” said Andrew Martin, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.
Martin-Baker, headquartered in Denham, England, has saved the lives of 7,613 aviators since 1949, operate in 93 countries, 56 airframes, and have more than 17,000 seats in service.
“Today, at the retreat, I remember all the retired Venezuelan officers that saved their lives thanks to Martin-Baker. I will always regret the fact that Venezuela lost $14M because of a bird strike, but it sure gave me the opportunity to meet extraordinary people, receive my Tie and know that I will be welcomed in any airshow Martin-Baker is participating in.”
On August 16th 2017 I was flying on training exercise (two aircraft). The meteorological condition was not the best, so we lost sight momentarily and situational awareness and both aircraft collided with the wings.
Immediately, me and the pilot flying lost the control of the aircraft and we go down while rolling, so the pilot flying pulled the eject handle and saved our lives.
MARTIN-BAKER COMPANY, from myself, my family (ALCANTAR BOYZO) and the FUERZA AEREA MEXICANA, I offer my most heartfelt thank you for saving my life.
LEOPOLDO ROBERTO ALCANTAR BOYZO, EJECTEE #6018