Ejector seat maker to be sentenced over Red Arrows pilot's death

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

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham was fatally injured after being ejected from his Hawk T1 aircraft while on the ground at RAF Scampton, 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.

Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd director John Martin pleaded guilty last month on behalf of the Middlesex-based company to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in connection with the 35-year-old's death.

Sean Cunningham death
A Red Arrows Hawk TMk1 XX177 at RAF Scampton (Alex Britton/PA)

The company is expected to be sentenced later at Lincoln Crown Court.

The defence submissions for the company said an assessment by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was that such an incident would happen only once in more than 100 years.

The court was also told that the firm had a "good system" in place and it "just failed in this instance".

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