A Martin Baker ejector seat, from a Lightning jet, that has been stripped of its paint and polished to a mirror finish. With working seat height adjustment motors powered by re-chargable batteries, circa 1960.
The Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd. was originally founded as a British aircraft manufacturer in 1934 by Captain (later Sir) James Martin and Captain Valentine Baker later becoming a pioneer in the field of ejection seats. Early seats like this example used a solid propellant charge to eject the pilot and seat by igniting the charge inside a telescoping tube attached to the back of the seat.
The English Electric Lightning was a supersonic jet interceptor designed in the United Kingdom. It is one of the most famous supersonic planes of the Cold War period and flew at speeds in excess of Mach 2. Most famously it had an exceptional rate of climb, being capable of covering an astounding 50,000 feet per minute and was also famous for its ability to rapidly rotate from takeoff to climb almost vertically from the runway.
The Lightning F1 entered service with RAF 74 Squadron in 1960. The aircraft’s acceleration coupled with its phenomenal rate of climb contributed greatly to its effectiveness as an all weather interceptor fighter and its air defence role. The Lightning went on to serve with the RAF for 28 years in a number of geographical areas officially leaving front line service on 30 April 1988.
Dimensions: 52 cm/20½ inches (width) x 96 cm/37¾ inches (depth) x 138 cm/54¼ inches (height)