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Summary: An instructional film charting the development of the first successful pilot ejector seat by Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd just after the Second World War.
Description: START 00:00:00 Reel 1. The film opens with live action shots showing a parachutist jumping from a Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bomber, a de Havilland Mosquito flying at extremely low level and a pilot seated in the fuselage of a Vickers Supermarine Spitfire being used by Martin Baker as an engine test-bed. With the assistance of a young Martin Baker scientist who serves throughout the film as presenter, the film explains how the rapid increase in the flying speeds of some RAF aircraft types, especially the Gloster Meteor jet, has made bailing out of stricken aircraft extremely difficult.
00:02:22 To meet the challenge, Martin Baker (based at Chalgrove airfield in Oxfordshire) has developed an ejector seat that allows a pilot to bail out at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour (mph) and survive. The film shows pilots taking part in prototype trials on a test rig at Chalgrove and explains how the cordite-fired apparatus works and the procedure which a pilot needs to follow in order to eject safely. A dummy is seen being ejected from a Gloster Meteor Mk II jet in mid-air.
00:05:03 Pilots demonstrate how to buckle up in a Martin Baker ejector seat and take part in a trial on the test rig to simulate an ejection from an aircraft cockpit. In July 1946, Bernard Lynch of Martin Baker carries out the first in-flight ejection by a pilot from a Meteor jet, followed by another one in August the following year
10:08:09 Reel 2. Bernard Lynch, sporting a typical Royal Air Force pilot's 'handle-bar' moustache, talks to a RAF officer about the effects of wind blast and G forces on airmen attempting to escape from their aircraft. The film explains how the Martin Baker ejector seat can cope with forces up to 4G and shows Lynch being ejected from a Meteor jet at the end of a drogue parachute that stabilises his flight; two parachutes eventually appear - one for the pilot and one for the seat.
00:10:14 Work is continuing on the development of an ejector seat that allows a pilot to escape in an emergency with a device that simultaneously jettisons the cockpit hood. For the moment, a pilot using a Martin Baker ejector seat has to ensure that the cockpit hood is clear and follow a strict procedure before safely ejecting. Over shots showing a pilot ejecting from his aircraft and floating earthwards at the end of his parachute, the film concludes by stating that Bernard Lynch has succeeded in ejecting from a Meteor jet travelling at just over 500 mph, "The End - but not of the pilot". End credits followed by a caption announcing that the Martin Baker ejector seat has been adopted by the RAF.
Production Details: Ministry of Supply (Production sponsor)
C S (A) Film Unit (Production company)
Dewhurst, H (Production individual)
Dewhurst, H (Production individual)
Stewart, J R (Production individual)
Francis, F (Production individual)
Browning, J (Production individual)
Tutchings, A (Production individual)
Breed (Flight Lieutenant) (Production individual)
Snagge, John Derrick Mordaunt1904-05-081996-03-25 (Production cast)
Personalities, Units and Organisations:
Keywords: Great Britain post-1945 (theme)
Military Aviation (theme)
Royal Air Force 1945-2000 (theme)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Subtitle language: None
Technical Details: Format: 16mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 490 ft; Running time: 12 mins 15 secs
Notes: Remarks: an interesting and well-made film about the pioneering work done by the Martin Baker Company to develop the ejector seat, which to date (2008) has saved 7,000 lives.
Technical: This tape appears to be a dub of a fairly indifferent quality 16mm print. The sound level of the original recording of the 'boffin' delivering the piece-to-camera lecture is low.