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Martin Baker

Business Address: Martin Baker, Lower Road, Higher Denham, Near Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB9 5AJ

Country: England,

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About Martin Baker

For over 60 years, Martin-Baker has been the world leader in the design and ... systems and interfaces to fully integrate the pilot with cockpit and aircraft systems.

'Martin's Aircraft Works' was founded by Sir James Martin as an aircraft manufacturer in 1934. The factory was established in 1929 and four aircraft prototypes were produced: MB1, MB2, MB3 and MB5. It was during the designing and testing of the MB1 where James Martin and Captain Valentine Baker started their friendship and ‘Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd’ was established.

On 12th September 1942, during a test flight of the Martin-Baker MB3 prototype, Captain Valentine Baker was tragically killed. The engine seized and he was forced to make an emergency landing, during which the aircraft wing tip struck a tree stump, causing the aircraft to cartwheel. Captain Valentine Baker's death greatly affected Sir James Martin, so much so that pilot safety became Martin's primary focus.

In 1944, James Martin was invited by the then Ministry of Aircraft Production to investigate the practicability of providing fighter aircraft with a means of assisted escape for the pilot. After investigating alternative schemes, it soon became apparent that the most attractive means would be by forced ejection of the seat with the occupant sitting in it, and that the most effective means of doing this would be by an explosive charge.

The Martin-Baker ejection seat was then born. Ejection seat testing The Company's continued dedication resulted in number of milestones relating to ejection seat testing. The first static ejection test took place on 24th January 1945 by Bernard Lynch.

The first mid-flight test ejection was then made on 24th July 1946, also by Bernard Lynch. He ejected himself from the rear cockpit of a specially modified Meteor 3 at 320 mph IAS at 8000 ft. The whole system worked successfully. Bernard Lynch made a perfect landing and subsequently made a further 30 ejections.

The first ever live ejection took place on 30th May 1949, by Jo Lancaster. Jo was flying an Armstrong Whitworth AW52 aircraft and was forced to eject using a pre Mk1 ejection seat over Southam, Warwickshire. Many other milestones were achieved soon after, including the first live zero speed / zero altitude ejection in 1961 and in 1987 the first microprocessor controlled ejection seat.

Since the Pre Mk1 ejection seat, Martin-Baker has had over 7400 successful ejections and equipped over 200 different aircraft around the world.