Naval Aircraft Escape Systems Collection Thomas

William C. Thomas, Jr. (1925-2008) worked for the US Navy for 31 years (1954-1985) where he designed aircraft escape systems (ejection seats, parachute systems and escape capsules.) Thomas facilitated the launch of the initial introduction of Martin-Baker ejection seats in military aircraft, and started efforts to incorporate automatic sequenced ejection in multiplace aircraft. He was the project engineer for the development and incorporation of a supersonic capable ejection seat in the North American A3J-1 (A-5A) Vigilante and was instrumental in the development of the General Dynamics F-111 capsuled escape module. In 1970 he was the founder and chairman of the Emergency Egress Committee; this committee, which was comprised of representatives from the major manufacturers of Navy aircraft, coordinated the development and improvement of escape systems for all Naval aircraft.