Back when I was first starting out, I spent some time at a local airport and wrote a newspaper profile about a small airline based there. The day the story came out, an airplane crash at the field took the life of a local pilot, a young guy who crashed on takeoff, and died when his head hit the control panel. I thought of that again the other day when the NTSB made its push for airbags in GA airplanes -- I don't doubt that an airbag could have saved that guy, and probably even a shoulder harness would have done the trick. Most pilots can probably think of similar incidents.
Yet as soon as the story appeared in this week's AVwebBiz that the NTSB wants to mandate shoulder harnesses in GA airplanes, we started to see reaction against it in the AVweb inbox.
The NTSB analysis showed that just replacing a lap belt with a shoulder harness can reduce the chance of serious injury or death in an accident by 50 percent. I can understand the resistance to being forced to spend money on an airplane, but this seems like a no-brainer to me -- all seats should have shoulder harnesses, and all new airplanes should have airbags, too. In the overall scheme of things, it seems a reasonable expense with a worthwhile return.