...Manufacturer Cites Stats
Although it appears the airlines are embracing the inflatable seatbelts to possibly squeeze in more seats or enhance passenger comfort, Amsafe says there are sound safety reasons to equip aircraft with its airbags. It cites an NTSB study that estimates that 77 percent of aircraft accidents are survivable, but unconscious victims die in the post-crash fire. The company claims the airbags help prevent passengers from being knocked out by the initial impact so they can get out of the wreckage. Amsafe spokesman Larry Williams told The Arizona Republic he believes FAA standards will eventually catch up with the technology. "But we feel they eventually will go the way of automobile airbags once people realize they can save lives in crashes," he said. "Airbags in cars have had a huge impact on preventing injuries. These will do the same thing." Another concern sometimes expressed by potential customers is that the airbags will go off accidentally from a hard landing or turbulence. The company says its system of sensors makes the chance of accidental inflation about one in 10 million. Williams said none of the belts in service has gone off prematurely.