August 2010 Issue

Airborne Airbags?

None of us plan to crash, but stuff happens. When it does, your seat belt/harness may not keep you from hitting the panel but an AmSafe airbag probably will.

There’s an old joke about stepping off a tall building: It’s not the step itself that hurts; it’s the sudden stop at the bottom. So it is when considering the crashworthiness of general aviation aircraft—we want to eliminate or minimize deceleration forces to maximize survivability. Automobile designers learned this long ago, helped along by federal standards. Unfortunately, an aircraft’s very nature makes adopting some of the automobile’s engineering to enhance general aviation crashworthiness either impossible or too much of a compromise. But one popular and proven automobile safety enhancement has made its way to general aviation in recent years: the airbag.

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