Bernard Lynch was an engineer fitter at British aviation firm Martin-Baker. But his main claim to fame was as the fearless test subject for their signature invention: the ejection seat.
The origins of the ejection seat began over a century ago and in that time, they have saved over 10,000 lives. But as new technology continues to push the limits of aviation, engineers are constantly tasked to find better ways to propel pilots to safety when disaster strikes. Witness the evolution of the ejection seat, from humble beginnings into one of the world's most sophisticated survival machines. It's a story told through rarely seen archival footage and accounts from those who designed the seats and those who owe their lives to them.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.