The Ejection Site

The Manufacturers
Links to Manufacturer's Home Pages
all other links on this page
are to Ejection Site pages
Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd.
Martin-Baker Support America
Stanley Aviation
Universal Propulsion Inc. (Goodrich- Stencel, IBP-Zvezda)
Weber Aircraft
East West Industries
Since their conception early this century, ejection seats have been manufactured and designed by several companies. The Germans led the way prior to World War II with seats designed by the same companies that were manufacturing the aircraft they would be installed in. This pattern was repeated by the Swedish as SAAB began to design seats to help their pilots to escape from aircraft with pusher propellers.

In England, the pattern was to be followed as well, with several of the major aircraft manufacturers being invited to a conference in the late war years to discuss the requirements. As it happened, a small but innovative aircraft company took on the challenge. This company had designed and built a handful of aircraft which were not purchased by the RAF, although other products were. Martin-Baker provided some subcontractor designs for aftermarket parts which were purchased in bulk (including a retrofit package to jettison the canopy on Spitfire aircraft). Martin-Baker has opened a related company, Martin-Baker America, in Pennsylvania and will eventually be priducing ejection seats in the US.ML Aviation also produced ejection seats during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In the United States, seat design was influenced by a german Heinkel seat captured at the end of the war, and of course by the developments out of England. Aircraft Mechanics Inc. was one of the companies given the task of examining the German seats. Several American companies began to produce seats during the late 1940s, including Lockheed Aircraft which began to develop seats to go along with their pioneering work in jet propelled aircraft. North American, Grumman, Republic, Northrop, Vought, and Douglas all produced seats for their own aircraft as well.

Other companies began to produce ejection seats as sub-contractors also. These included such companies as Weber Aircraft, Stencel Aero Engineering, Stanley Aviation, and Aircraft Mechanics Inc.. As aircraft companies began developing more and more complex planes, few of the aircraft manufacturers could continue to put the resources into development of such complex and specific engineering marvels as ejection seats. Although it was preferable to have a U.S. company produce ejection seats, The U.S. Navy insisted on using Martin-Baker seat as the USAF specifications for seats were found unacceptable for use under 500 feet of altitude, where the USN was most concerned due to the dangers of carrier aviation.

Many of the seat designers experimented with different technology to improve survivabiliy in various points in the ejection envelope, such as the low and slow take-off and landing area, or the high dynamic pressure (high-Q) area of high speed, high atmospheric pressure enviroment. Ejection capsules were developed for the high-Q environment such as the Stanley B-58 ejection capsule. In the low speed environment much work has been done on rocket seats and vertical seeking seats. Another consideration was the ability to retrofit the seats to early aircraft with limited cockpit space without changing the center of balance of the aircraft significantly. One concept that was used quite successfully was the Stanley YANKEE tractor rocket system which essentially yanked the pilot out of the aircraft by his harness.

With the passage of time, and the changes in requirements from the users, design and development of egress technology became more and more centralized with mergers of different companies, and other builders getting parts from the major manufacturers. Stencel became part of Universal Propulsion which is still the manufacturer of the Stencel SIIIS seat which is used in the AV-8B Harrier of the USMC. Universal Propulsion was sold early in 1999 by its parent company to Goodrich.

Douglas (the makers of the Escapac seats was part of the merger that created McDonnell-Douglas. McDonnell-Douglas later developed the ACES II Advanced Concept Ejection Seat. The ACES II is the standard USAF Government Furnished Aerospace Equipment (GFAE) ejection seat, and is used in the F-15, F-16, B-1, B-2, F-117, A-10 and F-22 aircraft. This grouping spans the aircraft manufacturers - Rockwell, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop, Fairchild-Republic and of course McDonnell-Douglas. As of late 1997, Boeing Aircraft Company acquired McDonnell-Douglas, and is now the manufacturer of record for the ACES II. By late 1999, the Escape Systems Division was sold to Goodrich.

Around the rest of the world, Martin-Baker is probably the most prolific manufacturer with over 68,000 ejection seats manufactured. The Russian company Zvezda may be the only comparable manufacturer. Zvezda is the manufacturer of both the K-36D ejection seat fitted to the MIG-29 and SU-27 aircraft and the K-37 helicopter ejection seat fitted to the Ka-50 Havok (aka Black Shark). The K-36D seat has been demonstrated quite effectively at airshows in Paris and England. The K-36 seat has been extensively remade in anticipation of use in the United States aircraft market. The firm IBP Aerospace was to be the primary manufacturer of the K-36 3.5A and K-36 3.5L variants in the US. Goodrich Safety Systems Division purchased the K-36 3.5 program and is now in charge of the majority of American seat manufacture with all three major systems to be produced in the US.

As of Mid-2000, Martin-Baker Aircraft has spun off a group- Martin-Baker America Inc. which will do depot level maintainance and other seat related work.

Manufacturer Pages (Local)
When available
Martin-Baker Aircraft co. LTDMBA
Boeing Aircraft BAC
Douglas Aircraft / MacDonnell-Douglas Aircraft DAC/MCD
Weber Aircraft Corp.WAC
Universal Propulsion Corp. UPCo
Stanley Aviation
Stencel Aero Engineering Corp.SAEC
Republic Aircraft
Northrop Aircraft
Lockheed Aircraft Corp.
Aircraft Mechanics Inc.AMI
Glen Martin Aircraft
North American Aircraft/RockwellNAA

The Ejection Site Home
Send email to Kevin