Martin-Baker with Baker?


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Nov 15, 2008
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Say the Martin-Baker MB3 does not crash killing Baker in September 1942. How much does it actually change Martin-Baker's prospects as an aircraft manufacturer? MB3 was apparently a good aircraft for its time. But Martin-Baker did not have production capacity of its own. So if the MB3 gets the go ahead to enter production it must be at the cost of reducing or cancelling production of some other aircraft and the only other aircraft using the Napier Sabre were Hawker Typhoon and Tempest and I'm not entirely certain why if the choice is between Tempest and MB3 it is going to be MB3. Of course you could posit increasing Sabre production (problematic?) or putting both Tempest and MB3 into production although that looks wasteful.

So was MB3 and with it follow up designs condemned to be no more than a prototype/experimental aircraft even if it hadn't crashed killing Baker?


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Jan 20, 2007
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All bemoaners of disregard for (genius) oddballs/outsiders by dull Officials in MAP overlook the System for assigning resources after 2/42.
US/UK Master Lend/Lease Agreement, 23/2/42 released $ to UK from 27/3/42 through Combined (US/UK/Canada) Supply Committees. We have booksfull of serial numbers of complete aircraft supplied by US/Canada under Lend/Lease (yes, Canada too). We have no books listing UK-assembled aircraft which embodied free-$-content: which was all bar only any made from non-Canadian spruce. All Munitions Factories had Stores of (Office of L/L Admin. OLLA; 25/9/43) FEA (The Foreign Economic Administration), issued to (MAP, or other Govt. procurers) for contracts admitted by the 11/3/41 title: Lend/Lease, an Act for the Defense of US: terms included non-export by recipients.

All UK Munitions orders on UK Cos. passed through these Combined Committees, who juggled priorities - say in shipping: bauxite could painlessly become Bomber if aluminium/extrusions moved intra-US, from mine to Aircraft Factory, drowning no sailors. So, that logic caused one of UK's responsible Officials, Sir Willian Rootes (seconded to public service from his Commer truck business), to abdicate from 10 ton trucks, best-in-the-National-Interest to be built in US. Ditto assault landing craft. et al. MAP legitimised its Requisitions for US material by referencing Contract No. and unique identity of the end-items: so, a/c military serial number. Procurement Officials were not dull.

Now link that with a constant Ministerial nightmare summarised as "draughtsmen": inadequacy of R&D resources: the sense that a skilled draughtsman diverted to an MBA oddball would prejudice progress at proven Hawker, Supermarine, or any of 1920 (then Air Ministry) "Ring" of qualified Design Tenderers. That is why the >1935 Rearmament newbies had such difficulty in lifting themselves above mere Supplier.
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Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
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Jul 19, 2016
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The biggest problem faced seems to be the perfectionist nature of the builder. How many iterations did it go through? The 3/4 with a Merlin/Griffon engine could have been quite something and the 5 certainly was according to a certain RN test pilot.


All hail the God of Frustration!!!
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Apr 15, 2006
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Biggest impact would be that MB doesn't become the predominant producer of ejection seats that it is today. 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 later reorganisation of the company to focus primarily on ejection seats.

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