Popularity Grows for Aviation's Latest Gaseous Sac

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Mooney Latest To Offer Airbags...

If safety sells, Mooney may be hoping a new airbag option on its Ovation 2 DX/GX and Bravo DX/GX models will help its customers forget about the parachutes proliferating on at least one worthy competitor. For an extra $6,000, Mooney buyers will now be able to add Amsafe seatbelt/airbag combinations to all four seats. The seatbelts, which are a little thicker than regular webbing, contain the airbag and inflation system that throws a cushion of air between occupant and airframe when sensors detect a 9-G deceleration. "We strongly feel that by offering the inflatable seatbelt we have not only listened to our current customers but have addressed the issue of increasing safety with no need for other uncontrollable devices such as a parachute system," said Mooney VP Nicolas Chabbert. Chabbert said the certification program is underway and airbag-equipped Mooneys should be available by mid-summer. Mooney isn't the only company looking at airbags on a GA aircraft, however. Aircraft Manufacturing and Development, which makes the CH200 Alarus trainer, has tested the inflatable seatbelts, but the company's Web site does not say if and when the airbags will be available. Gippsland, the Australian maker of a large utility single called the Airvan, also offers the airbags, as does Aviat.