I joined the RAF in 1968 at 17 as an Armourer, within a short time I was posted to Waddington. Removing ejection seats from the Vulcan can be a bit scary when you aren’t happy at height. You stand on the flat area behind the cockpit once the canopy is removed. One occasion I had the seat partially out and was signalling the crane to lift it clear when the A/C suddenly leapt a foot into the air. I was shot off sideways but fortunately, even then we had PPE in the form of a big leather belt. I ended up hanging upside down about 10ft above the ground, well bruised. The riggers had separated the nose cone onto a scissor platform and the sudden release of weight had done the rest.
I have worked on Martin Bakers finest on Hunters (8sqn Muharraq), Harrier OCU (RAF Wittering), Jaguar, Tornado and a few others over a 26 year career .
saddest moment was when i saw off a GR1 Harrier at Lossiemouth, one I had fitted the seat into previously. The pilot never returned having become disoriented in cloud and hit the ground vertically, he attempted ejection but was well outside parameters.
After gulf One and the RAF redundancy, I worked on Hawks at Al Ain for Airwork, and again Hawk for BAES in Saudi, initially in the seat bay at Dhahran.
I retired four years ago having spent many years in the middle east and RAF coningsby running groundcrew type training delivery on Typhoon, even Seat removal training there too.
I did visit the Martin Baker factory some years ago to complete an upgrade course on Seat servicing. I have a long relationship with Martin Baker and its wonderful seats.
I have no pictures of the time on Vulcans. The Cold War Nuclear weapons prevented any cameras. My first Work picture is 8Sqn seat fit on the line at Muharraq, thats around Jun 1971. The second picture is my final shot of, one of the training aircraft I “Owned” at Taif for type training with the suitable ‘Exit’ sign. quite a ride.