Ejector seat maker faces charges over death of Red Arrows pilot

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, who was killed after being ejected from his Hawk T1 while on the ground at RAF Scampton
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, who was killed after being ejected from his Hawk T1 while on the ground at RAF Scampton
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An ejector seat manufacturer is to prosecuted over the death of a Red Arrows pilot at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, in 2011.

The Health and Safety Executive said it will be prosecuting Martin Baker Aircraft Ltd for an alleged breach of health and safety law.

A BAE Systems Hawk jet on the ground at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire

A BAE Systems Hawk jet on the ground at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire

The charges relate to the death of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham at the base.

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HSE’s Inspector David Butter said: “We have conducted a thorough investigation and consider there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.”

HSE investigated the incident following a Ministry of Defence inquiry, investigations by the civilian and military police, and technical investigations involving the Military Aviation Authority and the Military Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Flt Lt Cunningham died after his ejector seat initiated during the pre-flight checks of his Hawk XX177 jet while on the ground and stationary at the Lincolnshire airbase.

Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, of Lower Road, Higher Denham, near Uxbridge will appear at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court, at a date to be confirmed, to face a section three charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.