I, Master Warrant Officer (Ret) Roelf Ferreira served in the South African Air Force over period
5 January 1976 to 30 April 2016.
During my term of service I maintained the following types of ejections seats over the following periods:
From 1985 to 1988 I served at the Ejection Seat Servicing Section at Air Force Base Pietersburg (Base since closed down) in the capacity of 2nd in Charge of the section. I conducted six-monthly and two-yearly services on Martin Baker type AS-O6A ejection seats as fitted to Aeromacci Atlas Impala Mk I aircraft and Martin Baker type WY6-AM ejection seats as fitted to Aeromacci Atlas Impala Mk II aircraft.
On 1 September 1989 I was transferred to AFB Louis Trichardt (now Makhado) in the capacity of Section Head of 3 Air Servicing Unit’s Ejection Seat Servicing Section. I successfully completed a course in the Maintenance of Mk B10L ejection seats.
Over period 1990 to 1993 I conducted two yearly servicing’s on Martin Baker type Mk B10L ejection seats as fitted to Denel Cheetah E aircraft and Martin Baker type Mk B10L-1 & 2 ejection seats as fitted to Denel Cheetah D aircraft.
During a routine training sortie the Officer Commanding of 5 Squadron Commandant Renier Keet experienced serious hydraulic problems with his Cheetah E aircraft during take-off from AFB LTT and was forced to eject from the aircraft with the ejection seat. I can proudly state that the pilot ejected safely and till today I’m proud to have been directly involved with the servicing of his ejection seat the week prior to the incident.
The then Chief of the South African Air Force Lt Gen P.B. van Loggerenberg conducted a formal visit to the unit and sections had to demonstrate the servicings conducted in each section. I decided to explain and demonstrate the function of the Barostatic Time Release Unit (BTRU) as fitted to the Martin Baker type MK B10L ejection seat to the General.
On a lighter note:
I decided to practically demonstrate to the General the testing of the G-Switch fitted to the BTRU in the Centrifuge Test Chamber. In order to ensure that the results of the tests are within the relevant limits, I spent days making sure that results obtain during the tests are within limits. I performed the relevant test over and over to ensure the tests are conducted according to the prescripts.
On the day of the General’s visit I performed the test and the General asked me when will I know that the BTRU functioned completely, I explained that the test light on the test jig will illuminate when the BTRU run down but I actually did not switch the test light “ON” before I’ve started the test sequence. The General smiled, thank me for the demonstration and left.
That day I met “Murphy’s Law” first hand.