In Need Of Some Restraint


One of the side benefits of having some spare airframes, a test facility and a bunch of motivated engineers is the other kinds of testing you can do. According to Chad Stimson, NASA’s project manager for the ongoing ELT testing, other data also is being collected, mostly as a supplement to earlier studies.

As the images at right attest—they’re captured from a NASA video and obviously are from a high-speed camera—among the additional, supplemental data being gathered is what happens to restrained and unrestrained crash-test dummies. These images are from the first of the three crash tests, in which a Cessna 172 was dropped vertically from 80 feet, a distance calculated to simulate its stall speed at impact.

The sequence of images clearly shows the unbelted right-seat dummy eating the control yoke, while the left-seat dummy, restrained by a single-strap shoulder harness, barely moves. If your airplane lacks shoulder harnesses, these three images are what you need to know about whether to install them.


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