Stuart Smith

I joined the Royal Air Force at 16 ½ and completed 31 years before retiring in May 2016, I now work as a senior lecturer at Staffordshire University delivering degrees to Ministry of Defence personnel in Computing and Engineering.  The experience and skills developed while maintaining seats has stayed with me and allows me to deliver this experience to students.

I was a maintainer in the Ejection Seat Bay at RAF Coltishall working on Mk9 ejection seats, a first tour on seats and one that taught me the high levels of engineering excellence that is required for this life saving equipment.  The levels of professionalism and accuracy are required to allow the pilot to push the limits of the aircraft with the knowledge that an ejection seat would get them out of trouble every time.  During my time we had 2 successful ejections and each time the pilot visited the bay to personally thank the team for the work that they had completed.

I was later posted to RAF Cosford and was responsible for the delivery of the seat training to all new recruits starting their military career.  I was working with Duncan Charles and between us we made sure that the same high level of maintenance was delivered for both servicing and fitment of the Mk10 seats on Tornados in the training hangar.  We also delivered the same training to the international students to allow for the same high standards to be delivered to our international partners.

Visit to Martin Baker over my career have allowed me to keep the ethos of life saving equipment at the forefront of my engineering standards.  I was also fortunate to experience a back-seat flight in the Falklands in an F3 Tornado sat with the confidence that the seat would be a life saver.  Not many pictures I am afraid as I was always camera shy but a picture of my last official function in uniform a graduation of students from RAF Cosford.

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