18 July 2009

Airline Seat Safety

A new rule has come into force that requires airlines to ensure that seats can withstand the impact of 16 Gs. Interestingly that is of course more than the poor old human body can withstand.

The rule has been on the FAA books for years but is nor required retroactively. Another reason to question why you would actually want to fly on a Boeing 737-200 anyway.

Airline seats are wondrous things. They may or may not be required (depending on whether you think RyanAir and a Chinese airline should be allowed to have passenger's standing up on flights). Business class and first class seats are already pretty elaborate things. In some cases just too elaborate (like the Emirates old Biz Class seats were plain awful). 3 separate sets of controls were just too confusing (particularly after several sets of drinks and a 16 hour flight!).

One idea I am particularly drawn to is the idea of seat airbags. With the auto industry having adopted air bags of all types into the passenger cabin - there should be no reason why an airline cabin should not be just as protected.

The AP put out an interesting article about airline pax air bags incorporated into the seat belt. Have a look here: http://www.mercurynews.com/travel/ci_12843291?nclick_check=1

I have to comment that the lap only belts on aircraft do worry me when I know that a shoulder/lap belt is the standard on a car and that indeed lap only belts are banned on cars.

And the cost... Well given the current price of an airliner today - we are talking about very low - probably sub 1% cost to add to the cost of an aircraft. This seems to be a very low price to pay for significantly increasing survivability in a crash.


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