Ejector seat manufacturer to be sentenced after death of Red Arrows pilot

One of the world's leading ejector seat manufacturers who admitted breaching health and safety law over the death of a Red Arrows pilot is to be sentenced.

Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd director John Martin pleaded guilty on behalf of the Middlesex-based company to their part in the death of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham at a hearing on January 22.

The 35-year-old was fatally injured after being ejected from his Hawk T1 aircraft while on the ground at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire on November 8 2011.

The parachute on the Mark 10B ejector seat did not deploy and the South African-born airman died later in hospital.

In a statement released after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the company said: "Martin-Baker's priority has and will always be the safety of the aircrew who sit on the company's seats."

The firm said it had been designing and manufacturing ejection seats for 73 years "and in that time these ejection seats have been flown by 92 air forces, with over 17,000 seats currently in use."

Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd will be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court in a two-day hearing which will start on Monday.

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