The County Down engineer that saved thousands of lives

  • Northern Irish engineer, James Martin,invented the plane ejector seat which saved thousands of lives.

    James Martin was an engineer from Crossgar in County Down. He established the Martin-Baker aircraft manufacturing company with friend and fellow pilot Valentine Baker in 1934. 

    During a test flight for an aircraft design, Baker was killed. As a result of this, Martin transformed the company to focus purely on aircraft safety. 

    In 1944, James Martin created the plane ejector seat.

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    The invention of the ejection seat is one of the biggest milestones for aviation safety in the history of flight. 

    Before ejection seats were standardized, the process of escaping from an incapacitated aircraft was extremely dangerous. 

    Now the ejection seat by the Martin-Baker aircraft company has become a standard part of aircraft and pilot safety around the world.

    To date the plane ejector seat has been responsible for saving more than 7,600 lives.

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    A new exhibition at the Ulster Transport Museum is showcasing rare archive footage of the ejector seat being tested, as well as early prototypes of the seat.

    The Museum of Innovation is a permanent exhibition recognising pioneers from Northern Ireland who pushed the boundaries of engineering.

    Source: BBC NEWS


    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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