Flight Safety: Airbags Now On Airplanes

Photo courtesy AmSafe

Photo courtesy AmSafe

Although the airline industry’s old school of thought believed there was no need for airbags aboard planes, new government regulations looking to increase safety are making them mandatory.  With crashes like the one in the Hudson River that only resulted in a few minor injuries and no deaths, regulators believe that passengers could use some extra cushioning to help them survive just such an incident.

A new government-imposed crash-standard has been slowly phased in over the last two decades and it goes into full effect this week, when the seats in newly manufactured planes will have to protect passengers from a crash 16 times the force of gravity. That’s roughly what you might experience in a head-on car wreck at a moderate speed. And more than just a US trend, so far 30 airlines around the world have implemented the new restraints.

Designed by AmSafe, a company which makes most airline seat restraints and virtually any air safety system you can think of, the new airbags are actually seat belts with bags tucked inside.  They look and operate like a standard seatbelt, but also  deploy an airbag up and away from the passenger,  providing critical protection to the head, neck and torso in the event of impact. The company is currently supplying the product to most major U.S. airlines to  comply with the new government crash standard.  (For a video to see them in action, navigate this link).

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