Obviously I don’t know how much you fly. No, I mean in aircraft. While I spend a good deal of my travel time inside a car or truck there are those times when I must submit myself to the indignities of being searched by the TSA and being charged by an airline for just about everything that I must do to accommodate my travel adventure. Carry-on bags are now tightly controlled because travelers were trying to escape the baggage fees now charged for even checking a single bag. Seating space has continued to shrink even though, I am told, Americans suffer from obesity or they continue to be larger through better nutrition.
So the thought comes to me, with all these changes in airline travel, why are they still using the passenger restraint technology that they were using when I was six years old? If you examine the seatbelts you are required to use on a commercial flight, they probably look like they are from around 1960. Usually the webbing has become fuzzy with use and the belt buckle is 1940’s technology.
Now I suppose that an automobile restraint system is designed to protect you from a collision in the 40 mph range. Sure there are plenty of accidents with cars that will exceed that speed, but surprisingly enough most of the time that is a perfectly adequate level of protection. But an aircraft has no crumple zone. The entire structure is a crumple zone with the most beefed up area being where the wings are mounted.
With the potential G-forces apt to easily exceed the sum of the IQ of the pilots in an aircraft accident, it is a wonder why the FAA sees the present airline seatbelt technology as adequate. The seats themselves would not have a prayer of being acceptable for use in an automobile by the NHTSA.
With all the focus on lowering the death rate in automobiles since the 1960’s you have to wonder why commercial aircraft lag so far behind.
Why don’t aircraft have three-point belts like our cars do? If “air-bag” technology is so effective in our cars why aren’t they installed on the back of every airline seat? Let’s face it, most aircraft collisions are head on, correct?
If automobile type 3-point seat restraints were used why would they need to spend any time with the standard educational chat on how we insert the buckle into the latch and lift on the latch to release the buckle. Heck the “air-bags” could end up being our floatation device, too.
It makes you wonder.