The Ejection Site

Martin-Baker Pre-Mk. 1
The Martin-Baker Pre-Mk. 1 is one of the oldest existing ejection seats. This seat was one of the original development models used to prove the concept of catapult ejection seats in England. The seat was developed in response to requirements from the Royal Air Force and consisted of a tubular structure with integral bucket and headbox. The large headbox contained a drogue parachute to decellerate and stabilize the seat. The drogue was deployed by means of a static-line fired drogue gun. Mounted on the left side of the tubular structure, the drogue slug was connected via a withdrawal line to the drogue parachute. The drogue gun firing mechanism was connected via a 15 foot wire that ran through a tube on the side of the seat down to into a coil holder on the floor of the cockpit. As the seat was ejected this coil would pay out until it reached the end where it was secured to the floor of the cockpit. Then the line would pull the trigger mechanism firing the drogue gun.

The catapult system was very different from the later Martin-Baker designs, however it was similar in most respects. It was actuated by a face curtain handle which was intended to protect the aircrew's face by deploying the curtain over his face against the windblast. There was no secondary handle fitted. The face curtain handle also protected the aircrew by forcing him to straighten his back while reaching for the handle. This placed the aircrew's spine in the best alignment for ejection.

You will note that this seat has no leg restraint lines. The earliest Martin-Baker's used a rest for each of the aircrew's heels to provide leg support.

The seat was fully manual, except for the drogue deployment. After ejection, the aircrew would have to release his lap and shoulder belts manually. Then he would kick away from the seat and manually actuate the rip-cord to deploy his recovery parachute.

This particular seat is the last of the Pre-Mark 1 seats known to exist. It is kept by Martin-Baker in the Meteor aircraft from which it was test flown.

3/4 Right view
Left rear view
Right side view
Closeup of headrest and drogue gun

This ejection seat was on display at theSAFE Association History of Escape Systems and the Evolution of Manikins Display during the SAFE Association 40th annual Symposium, October 2002

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