Sir James Martin

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James Martin was a self-educated innovator and an exceptionally creative and practical engineer who became an inventor and designer of international renown. In 1929 he founded the firm that later became the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company. During World War II, he built and designed a number of prototype aircraft and also developed and produced barrage balloon cable cutters that saved many aircraft and aircrews, aircraft ammunition and gun systems, and jettisonable aircraft canopies. In 1944, the British Air Ministry approached Martin-Baker to address the problem of high-speed bailout from jet fighters. Through his personal efforts, James Martin created the components of the modern ejection seat: gun-cartridge ejection, automatic seat release, face blind protection from slipstream blast, and parachute and dinghy deployment. Fully adopted by the Royal Air Force in 1947, the Martin-Baker ejection seat system became standard worldwide. Later improvements such as ground-level ejection and rocket-powered seats enabled the aircrew to safely eject on take-off or landing, as well as in flight. By 2004, Martin-Baker ejection seats were credited with saving over 7,000 lives. Throughout his long career in the British aerospace industry, Sir James Martin has been awarded numerous honors, the most distinguished of which is his being named a Knight Bachelor in 1965.
Inducted in 2004.
Portrait Location: Hall of Fame Hallway

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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