Ejection seat firm to stand trial after death of Red Arrows pilot

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham

An ejection seat manufacturer accused of breaching health and safety regulations following the death of Red Arrows pilot Sean Cunningham will go on trial at Lincoln Crown Court in January.

At a hearing earlier this year Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd entered a not guilty plea to a single charge brought by the Health and Safety Executive under the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act.

It is alleged that on or before November 8, 2011, it failed to conduct its undertaking in relation to the design, manufacture, supply and support of the Mark 10b ejection seat in a way that did not expose non-employees to risk.

The company appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday for a pre-trial review hearing. During the hearing it was agreed that the trial would commence at Lincoln Crown Court on January 22, 2018, and last between four and five weeks.

A further pre-trial hearing will be held in front of the trial judge, Mrs Justice Carr, in London on December 20.

Flt Lt Cunningham, 35, from Coventry, died in November 2011 after he was thrown into the air when his ejection seat activated while he was carrying out pre-flight checks on his Hawk jet at the display team’s base at RAF Scampton.

The parachute on the ejection seat did not deploy fully.