Jerry Rawlinson

I’ve attached a few photographs from the period 1983-87, these particular ones I’m guessing 1986. I was then an RAF armourer stationed at RAF North Luffenham. Part of my duties were to support the Aero Medical Training Centre in the operation and instruction of the mobile ejection seat training tower. This entailed the live firing of aircrew students to give them a feel of what a real ejection might feel like and hopefully reduce as much fear as possible. The question was inevitably asked, as I was telling the students that they had nothing to worry about, had I been on the tower myself? I felt it only fair that I should be able to say “yes” so I fired myself, a good experience.

The pictures were taken when a team from RAE Farnborough were visiting and they were experimenting with an adjustable dummy with the aim of making it as realistic as possible so that it could be used instead of a human volunteer. As well as still photographs they also took some ultra-high speed video and gave me a copy. I was banned from showing this to the students as it clearly showed the body being compressed during the ejection and also showed what happened if the correct posture wasn’t adopted..

The AMTC also had wooden cockpit mock-ups of Jaguar, Harrier, Hawk and Buccaneer aircraft, with the correct ejection seats in them to make sure that a student could actually fit in a real aircraft. These seats were maintained by the parent station on an annual basis so I had to remove, deliver, collect and refit these seats making my inventory of seats one of the most comprehensive at that time.

I purchased my discharge from the RAF in late 1987 and went to work for British Aerospace as part of the Al-Yamamah agreement and as part of the training I completed a Tornado Canopy and Egress course and also a Type 10 seat maintenance course at Denham before going to work in Saudi Arabia.

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