Ejector seat

In World War Two, Flying Officer Peter Dudgeon was a pilot serving with Number 208 Squadron and became concerned that the effect of the airstream on their new, faster Armstrong-Whitworth Atlas, would hold aircrew in their seats, so making a conventional escape from a crippled aircraft more difficult and sometimes impossible.

So our ingenious Mr Dudgeon came up with the brilliant idea to put the escapee into a position where climbing free of the aircraft was easy and he would bale out - an early form of ejector seat.

Dudgeon made a scale model of his seat for demonstration to the Air Ministry and submitted it with a set of drawings for installing the full-size version into an Atlas. Perhaps hardly surprisingly, the idea was turned down. It seems that a World War One attitude prevailed, that if aircrew had the opportunity to abandon the aircraft when they faced danger, or return it to base it is was severely damaged, they would be more likely to avoid danger and abandon.

Chatty Knight