Having spent over 32 Years in the Royal Air Force as a Weapons Technician I have been involved with Aircraft Assisted Escape Systems in various roles and differing Aircraft.
My first experiences were with the Type 4 fitted to Jet Provost as a Weapons Mechanic. This is where my respect for these amazing pieces engineering were forged as well as the high standards expected of me instilled by my mentors.
After further training and moving onto the Phantom aircraft I was involved with the removal and fitment of the Type 7 seats. Whilst working on Phantoms I was lucky enough during a Bolthole detachment with 29(F) Squadron at RAF Waddington to witness a double ‘Martin-Baker Flypast’ as a Phantom from the OCU was landing, an amazing sight to see both Aircrew gently floating safely to the ground with their Phantom trundling across the grass!
Further down the line I was posted to RAF Gutersloh in Germany to work in the Ejection Seat Bay as a maintainer seeing the introduction of the Harrier GR5 and the Type 12H seat into service. This was an extremely interesting and rewarding tour with such highs as experiencing the first ejection in Germany from a Harrier of the new type. The success of ‘our’ seat saw the then Flight Lieutenant Gary Waterfall receive his Martin-Baker tie and a crate of beer for us in the Seat Bay, thank you AVM Gary Waterfall CBE, it was a pleasure doing business with you.
Later on in my career on Tornado F3 & GR4/4A with Type 10 and in my latter Years on Typhoon with the Type 16 in Squadron service I was employed in various positions involving all aspects of AAES.
From those early Years as a young Airman on Jet Provost to my last experiences on Typhoon AAES, my time working on these life saving pieces of equipment still fills me with pride in a job well done with teams of tradesmen and women you trust your life with on equipment of the highest standard.
Thank you Martin-Baker and all, it has been a privilege and an honour.