Mk1 Ejection Seat

The first Martin-Baker ejection seat


The first Martin-Baker ejection seat

The first ever live Mk1 ejection was on 30th May 1949

69 lives saved using a Mk1 ejection seat

The Pre-Mk1 seat used by Bernard Lynch was completely redesigned after the first few tests, to allow for production on a quantity basis. Another series of dummy ejections was also repeated, perfecting the design of the drogue and its stowage and curing the various teething troubles which developed. Finally, on 19th August 1947, Lynch again ejected himself, this time at 12,000 feet at an indicated air speed of 420mph. He landed safely and afterwards stated that no shocks had been felt, even at that high speed. This successfully demonstrated the smoothness of the ejection gun, the effective protection of the face screen and the efficiency of the stabilising drogue.

In June 1947, the authorities had decided to standardise the Martin-Baker ejection seat for installation in all new service jet aircraft, and the work of production and installation was put in hand for Meteor, Attacker, Wyvern, Canberra and later the Sea Hawk and Venom aircraft.

These seats were provided with a seat pan capable of being raised and lowered to accommodate pilots of varying stature without increasing the height of the seat. The seats also included adjustable foot rests, and integral thigh guards to prevent the occupant’s legs being forced apart by air blast. The seat was guided during ejection by four rollers running in a guide rail assembly, bolted to the aircraft structure.

A considerable number of emergency escapes were made with these manually operated seats, which fully justified their introduction in service aircraft. Their limitations, however, were already obvious and the idea of making the whole sequence of events automatic began to take shape.

Aircraft fitted: Meteor, Canberra, Venom, J-1, Supermarine Attacker , Westland Wyvern , Vickers Valiant
Operating ceiling Unknown
Minimum height/speedUnknown
Crew boarding mass range70.4 to 101.7kg
Crew size range 5th to 95th percentile
Maximum speed for ejection 400+KIAS
Parachute deployment Ripcord operated
Drogue parachute type24 in.; Later versions 22 in. Controller drogue and 5ft stabiliser drogue
Drogue deploymentDrogue gun. Initiated by static line
Harness type Seperate parachute, seat harness
Ejection seat operation typeEjection gun
Ejection gunTwo cartridge, 60ft/sec
Ejection initiation Face screen firing
Barostatic time-release unitNo
Manual override handle No
Timers No
Seat adjustment Up/Down
Arm restraints No
Leg restraints Integral thigh guards and foot rests
Oxygen supplyBottled oxygen
Personal survival pack Liferaft pack
Aircrew services No
Command ejection No
Canopy jettison No
Miniature detonating cordNo

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