First use of Martin Baker ejector seat in combat

29 Aug 1951

When Warrant Officer Ron Guthrie was forced to abandon his Meteor jet fighter over Korea on this day, he unintentionally notched up several ‘firsts’. During this first clash between RAAF Meteors and Soviet MiG-15s, Guthrie’s aircraft sustained gunfire hits which caused it to enter a nose-down dive at 36 600 feet. With all controls gone, he decided to eject using the Martin Baker seat with which the Meteor was fitted. This was actually the first time that a Martin Baker seat had been used in combat, and his altitude is still the record for the highest combat ejection in the RAAF. The altitude of his ejection has only been exceeded in the RAAF by peacetime ejections at 38 000 feet from two Sabre jets involved in a midair collision in 1960. On landing, Guthrie was captured by Communist forces and spent two years as a prisoner of war. The RAAF Heritage Centre Williamtown, (Fighterworld), has an example of a Martin Baker ejection seat on display.

Related aircraft

  • Meteor