John Williams

I started my Seat Bay work as a young SAC working in the Tornado F3 Ejection Seat Bay at RAF Leuchars, working on Mk10A, the job was by far the most rewarding and a good start into the technical side of the Weapons Trade. While at Leachers luckily there was one incident where a Tornado F3 was departing to go onto an Exercise at RAF St Mawgan. The Aircraft was delayed and last to leave, however due to mechanical issues it started to role uncontrollably and both occupants Ejected safely. Scratch one for the Leachars Seat Bay team and point to note only a crate of beer was received from the rear occupant.

After Leuchars a few years later after a cheeky tour at RAF St Mawgan, I gained promotion to Corporal and was posted to the Seat Bay at RAF Marham. Initially working in the Harness Power Retraction Unit (HPRU) Bay, I was moved into the the Harrier Seat Bay to work on the Mk12 Seats. Again a very rewarding experience and a fantastic seat to work on. It was in the Harrier Seat Bay that I received a Flight Safety Commendation and was a runner up in the Adrian Ray Memorial Award which is an award given to officers or airman who have made an original, outstanding and practical contribution to flight safety in memory of Flight Lieutenant Adrian John Ray who lost his life while serving with the RAF. My award was for identifying a fault with the Mode Selector which had a gas port missing in the manufacturing of the main body. There were a number identified by batch and a repair process implemented by yourselves. The fault was identified on the Harrier that crashed on the runway at Kandahar Airfield, I was tasked by the Seat Inspector to carry out post crash inspection of the instruments at RAF Marham. After another break in seat work I gained promotion to Sergeant and rather than maintaining the Mk10’s, I now had the pleasure fitting them to the mighty Tornado GR4 on IX(B) Sqn. I gained my Indies Q fairly quickly and became the Rects Controllers worst nightmare, if the seat wasn’t to my standard then the Aircraft wasn’t going. It seemed as though I had a keen eye for any seat defect from the Seat Lateral movement on Aircraft that were under maintenance and Aircraft that were due to crew in. I won’t divulge too much but I did go to the wrong Aircraft, the SEngO wasn’t happy. Anyhow a privilege to have worked and had the opportunity to work on brilliant pieces of equipment.

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