Firm reviews ejector seat after plane tragedy + Video

The Red Arrows

The Red Arrows

First published in News
Last updated

AN Oxfordshire manufacturer criticised by a coroner for its part in a Red Arrows pilot’s death has reviewed its ejection seat design.

Flight lieutenant Sean Cunningham was killed on November 8, 2011, when he was ejected from an RAF Hawk T1 at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

A three-week inquest into the 35-year-old’s death, which concluded on Wednesday, heard that the seat pan firing handle had mistakenly been left in an unsafe position.

The seat manufacturer, Martin-Baker, which has a base at Chalgrove Airfield, said in a statement after the inquest: “In light of this incident, lessons have been learned and we have taken steps to alert all our customers worldwide who still use this type of seat, of the risk of over-tightening the shackle.

“Furthermore, our designers, working closely with military experts have developed a new type of shackle bolt and firing handle housing, which both Martin-Baker and the military authorities consider will prevent the reoccurrence of the circumstances that led to this tragic accident.”

It added that this type of seat has saved 7,436 lives since 1946.

Coroner for central Lincolnshire Stuart Fisher recorded a narrative verdict. Click here for our video report.

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