To what height would an ejection seat travel to when the handle is pulled?
From a zero-zero perspective (meaning that the seat is at zero altitude and travelling at zero knots), the seat would go somewhere between 200 and 300 feet in the air depending on the seat Mk. and the occupant’s weight.
How much does an ejection seat cost?
This is a difficult question to answer – it’s heavily dependent on the type of seat in question as well as the total number of seats ordered, but somewhere in the £100,000 – £200,000 range is fairly accurate as a ballpark figure.
Does the pilot leave the cockpit still in the seat when they eject?
Yes, after pulling the ejection handle the entire seat will eject from the cockpit and the pilot will be kept in the seat until the seat knows that it is at a sensible height and speed to then deploy the parachute and initiate the “seat-man separation”; all of the modern Mk. ejection seats perform this without any action required from the pilot.
How does the seat get through the canopy?
There are three options available dependant on the aircraft type:
- Canopy Jettison – where the entire canopy is blown from the aircraft leaving the seat clearance to eject from the cockpit,
- Through Canopy – where the seat is fitted with canopy spikes (canopy breakers) above the headbox to punch through the glass canopy,
- CSS/CFS – where charges are fitted to the canopy that are integrated with the seat to fire and shatter the glass upon initiation of the ejection handle.
How many times can one person eject in their lifetime?
There’s no fixed number – each individual is unique, as is the ejection that they endure. After ejection, a pilot will be given a full medical evaluation and it is down to that medical professional to advise whether it is recommended that the pilot continues to fly or not.
Do you use live subjects for ejection testing?
No, not anymore! Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Martin-Baker used live volunteer test pilots for both zero-zero ejection tests as well as live ejection tests out of a flying aircraft (our famous Gloster Meteor test aircraft). Benny Lynch carried out 31 live ejection tests, of which 17 were out of a moving aircraft. Today, instead, we use highly sensitive, high-tech test mannequins for all of our tests.
Do you have any competitors?
Martin-Baker is the world-leading designer and manufacturer of ejection seats; we own over 53% of the global ejection seat market and this is forecast to grow in the coming years.
How many aircraft are fitted with the Martin-Baker ejection seat?
There are over 17,000 Martin-Baker ejection seats in service today in 54 different aircraft types across 84 countries and these numbers are ever growing.
Can an ejection seat or any part of it be reused after it has been used for ejection?
No part of the ejection seat can be reused or salvaged from a seat once it has been used to eject. The Martin-Baker ejection seat is designed to stand the test of time and each part of the seat has a servicing life to ensure that the seat will perform when it’s needed; it is not designed for multiple use.
For how long have Martin-Baker been making ejection seats?
Martin-Baker was established as Martin Aircraft Works in 1929 by Sir James Martin and we initially designed and manufactured aircraft (The MB1, MB2, MB3 & MB5). The company later changed to Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd. at which point ejection seats became Sir James’ focus, with the first ejection seat tests occurring in 1946 and the first life saved in 1949.