FL Abayomi Dairo: How a fighter pilot ejected from a plane

FL Abayomi Dairo with military leaders after her rescue

FL Abayomi Dairo with military leaders after her rescue

By Sadeeq Shehu


One of the most imperative responsibilities of a commander is the protection of his most precious possession: the people. The military probably thinks more than any other institution that in order to be the most productive and efficient people who are at risk must have confidence that if something serious happens their unit, organization or government will do everything possible to help them. find and bring them home safely.

The military “has an obligation to Nigerians in general, and to military families, to ensure that its soldiers go into battle with the assurance of success and survival. It is an obligation that only rigorous and realistic training, carried out according to standards, can fulfill.

The purpose of an ejection seat is the survival of the pilot. When I heard yesterday that a Nigerian Air Force pilot had ejected from a plane, the first question I asked was “Which plane?” And when I was told it was an Alpha-Jet, I was not unduly alarmed.

That’s because I know the Alpha Jet carried the Martin-Baker MK 10 ejection seat… probably the best ejection seat on the market. Flt Lt Abayomi probably survived because of 4 things: his composure in the face of danger, the Martin-Baker ejection seat, the NAF survival training he received and a superb NAF personnel recovery team.


Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd. is a UK manufacturer of ejection seats and aviation safety equipment. The origins of the company were originally as an aircraft manufacturer before becoming a pioneer in the field of ejection seats.

Founded in 1934 by Sir James Martin and Captain Valentine Baker, Martin-Baker supplies ejection seats to 93 air forces around the world and their seats have been installed in over 200 fixed and rotary wing types.

In 2012, more than 20,000 impact resistant seats were delivered.

They have a reputation: Martin-Baker claimed in 2016 that since the first live ejection test in 1945, a total of 7,613 lives have been saved by the company’s ejection seats. You can now add one more: Flight Lieutenant Abayomi.

In particular, Baker’s death in 1942 during a test flight of the MB 3 affected Martin so much that pilot safety became his primary focus and led to the subsequent reorganization of the company to focus primarily on ejection seats. In 1944, the Department of Aircraft Production asked James Martin to develop methods for fighter pilots to escape their aircraft. Martin decided that the best method was to eject the seat with the occupant seated in it, aided by an explosive charge.

After the ejection, the pilot separated from the seat and opened his parachute by pulling on a cord in the usual way. At that time, there was little information about pushing up or what in pilot jargon is called the “negative G” that the human body could resist. (To get a feel for the negative G, if you’ve been flying in a commercial plane and the plane bounces back from the turbulence, I’m sure you had that feeling there the way you wanted – let’s say urinating? I don’t really doesn’t mean urinate, but you get the idea.

This is Negative G) Controlled tests were conducted in January 1945 on volunteers to find the limits of upward acceleration that the human body could withstand, with each step stopped when the volunteer reported the onset of a considerable physical discomfort.

The first ejection seat was successfully tested on July 24, 1946. The first use of an ejection seat in practical application by a British pilot involved the Armstrong Whitworth AW52 flying-wing experimental aircraft in May 1949.

Martin-Baker was a pioneer in expanding the ejection seat’s operational envelope to allow it to be used at low altitude and low speed, ultimately leading to the development of the “zero-zero” capability in 1961.

From the first Mk 1 edition, we are now at Mk 17. The NAF F-7 and Alpha wear the MK 10! Chengdu F-7 / Guizhou F-7, FT-7 Dassault / Dornier Alpha Jet while the new EMB 314 Tucanos carry MK 11 !!


In aircraft, an ejection seat or ejection seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft (usually military) in an emergency.

In most designs, the seat is propelled out of the plane by an explosive charge or a rocket motor, taking the pilot with it. Once clear of the plane, and upon reaching a certain altitude, the ejection seat deploys a parachute.

Ejection seats are common on certain types of military aircraft. The “standard” ejection system operates in two stages. First, the entire canopy or hatch above the aviator is opened, broken, or jettisoned, and the seat and occupant are thrown through the opening.

In most earlier aircraft, this required two separate actions on the part of the aviator, while later evacuation system designs, such as the Advanced Concept Ejection Seat Model 2 (ACES II), perform both functions. in one action.

But even after a successful ejection, the pilot is alive, but not yet safe. It depends on where it lands. Our adversaries such as Boko Haram / ISWAP clearly understand that there is great intelligence and propaganda value in firing captured pilots who can influence our national and political will and negatively impact our strategic objectives.

For these reasons, the NAF maintains a robust and well-trained force to locate and recover personnel who have become “isolated” from friendly forces. Personnel recovery (PR) is a broad term that describes this process and the capacity it represents.

We saw this NAF capability exhibited in this incident. PR is defined as “the sum of military, diplomatic and civilian efforts to prepare and execute the recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel”. The Air Force’s PR capability has three essential elements: dedicated PR forces, commanders and staffs trained to manage PR programs and missions, and airmen who are trained and equipped for isolation and potential recovery.

Of course, the pilot himself has received top-notch Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion (SERE) training that includes common outdoor / wilderness survival skills such as firefighters, shelters, first aid, water supply and treatment, snares and wild edibles), improvised equipment, self-defense (natural hazards) and navigation (map and compass, etc.).

By sight, color and smell, Flt Lt Abayomi had been trained to recognize wild plants to eat and poisonous plants to avoid. More advanced survival training focuses on mental elements such as will to survive, attitude and “survival thinking” awareness, assessment, prioritization).

Military survival schools also teach unique skills such as parachute landings, basic and specialized signaling, helicopter guidance, the use of rescue devices (forest tree penetrators, harnesses, etc.) , traveling over rugged terrain and interacting with indigenous peoples. He is also adept in the use of specialized military survival equipment, survival kits, signaling, having been subjected to a greater variety of probable scenarios, as a given mission can expose him to a wide variety of risks. , environments and injuries as well as the use of state-of-the-art equipment and pre-established protocols.


Martin-Baker also sponsors an “Ejection Tie Club,” producing a tie, crest, certificate, tie pin and membership card for those like Abayomi whose life was saved by a Martin-Baker ejection seat.

Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo is expected to receive his tie, crest, certificate, tie pin and Martin-Baker Ejection Club membership card.

The company also partnered with Bremont to produce a limited-edition wristwatch for club members that Abayomi could purchase at a discount to remember that day.

In short, the army “has an obligation to the Nigerian people to ensure that its soldiers go into battle with the assurance of success and survival.

It is an obligation that only rigorous and realistic training, carried out in accordance with standards, can fulfill. As the NAF has long made survival training an integral part of combat readiness, this commitment paid off yesterday.

Evasion, resistance and evasion, evading an enemy consists of some well-known basic skills, but the military had better not openly discussing its practices as it can help an enemy.

Since some elements of the NAF Hostile Survival Preparation and Teaching are classified, I have skipped many details.

The NAF has much to celebrate. I join them. NB Lose your mind… Passenger / civilian planes do not have ejection seats.

Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu is a retired Air Force officer

First published in: https://prnigeria.com/2021/07/20/how-fighter-pilot-ejected/

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