This paper argues that, together with improved protection structures and energy dissipation systems, a favourable occupant position with sufficient support and restraint could reduce fatalities in aviation accidents. The crash responses of three different occupant positions were compared to justify the proposal of supporting a pilot in the rather unusual prone position. The normal seated and supine seated positions have already been adopted and implemented in aircraft. The occupant's response to specified crash pulse shapes in these two positions was compared with that of an occupant in the prone position. To obtain the best prone support configuration, different concepts were considered during the analysis. A dynamic event simulation program called ADAMS was used to perform the analysis, and existing injury criteria and a study of common causes of aviation fatalities and human body tolerance limits were used to compare the results. The study indicates that higher crash survivability in the prone position could be achieved if several guidelines are followed.
Willem van der Merwe Meintjes, S., Huyssen, R.J. and Theron, N.J. (2004), "Comparison of crash response with different occupant support concepts", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 4, pp. 366-375. https://doi.org/10.1108/00022660410545474
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