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Going Up – Very Quickly

  • Visits

Our Moleside visit for September took us to a British aircraft safety engineering company whose pioneering technology has saved more than 7,600 lives since its introduction to fast military aircraft in the closing months of World War Two. 

Outside the Oxfordshire village of Chalgrove, on an airfield used by both the RAF and the US Army Airforce during the war, this is the location that has played a substantial part in establishing Martin-Baker as the leader in the design and manufacture of ejection seat technology. 


The explosive techniques for destroying the aircraft’s overhead canopy …….


  ….. in synchronisation with the rocket power to lift the pilot through the now available space …..,

 ….. before deploying the parachute system
 that will deliver a survivable descent to safety, all depend on the precision sequencing of the multiple steps in the process.

The company has built its reputation on its track record of reliability and lives saved.

We were shown one of the company’s Gloster Meteors. The Mark 1 version of this aircraft was Britain’s first jet fighter. Powered by Whittle’s revolutionary turbojet engine, Meteors were the only Allied jets to see combat during the Second World War.

Now they fly the mannequins that carry the kit to monitor and record each airborne ejection test.

Martin-Baker was originally established in 1934 to develop small aircraft. The company focus shifted onto the concept of ejection seats when one of its founders tragically lost his life piloting a flight test

Today it is still privately owned, and we are very grateful to have had the chance to visit this world leader in aircraft flight safety systems.

After our visit we called into the pub across Chalgrove’s beautiful village green.

Here we can report The Red Lion served a most excellent and plentiful pub lunch. We were joined by Jeremy and Nick who had made us so welcome to Martin-Baker.

Thanks to John Brice for making possible another memorable Moleside visit, to Chris Dick for his help with our report and to John, Chris and Margaret Arnott for their fine photos.

For reports on other recent Club Visits click on the Tags below