Ejector seat maker admits breach over death of Red Arrows pilot Sean Cunningham

An ejector seat manufacturer has admitted breaching health and safety law over the death of a Red Arrows pilot.

Experienced Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, an Iraq war veteran, died after being ejected from his Hawk T1 plane while on the ground at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, on November 8, 2011.

The parachute in the chair failed to deploy resulting in the South African-born airman being fatally injured.

Ft Lt Sean Cunningham was on the ground in his Hawk T1. Credit: PA

John Martin, statutory director of Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd, pleaded guilty on behalf of the company at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in connection with the 35-year-old's death.

The ejector seat initiated during pre-flight checks, causing Flt Lt Cunningham's death in 2011.

During the inquest in 2014, Central Lincolnshire coroner Stuart Fisher was critical of Martin-Baker for their failure to warn the RAF about safety issues.

The firm describes itself as the "world's leading manufacturer of ejection and crashworthy seats".