According to the National Transportation and Safety Board, more than 80 percent of commercial airline accidents are survivable because they occur at take-off or landing, when aircraft are close to the ground and moving slowly. This may be one reason why more than 50 airlines worldwide have installed the AmSafe seatbelt airbag to protect passengers from serious head injuries in the critical 90 seconds following impact. “Attainment of this key milestone reflects over a decade of investment, innovation and hard work,” says Terence Lyons, CEO of AmSafe Inc., Phoenix, Az., manufacturer of the seatbelt airbag.
The airbag, integrated into the lap belt portion of the seatbelt, inflates in less than 90 milliseconds, deploying up and away from the occupant, making it safe for both children and adults. A passenger’s head hits the airbag rather than the seat in front, making it more likely the person will be conscious and able to exit the plane. In October 2009, new Federal Aviation Administration regulations required commercial aircraft seats to withstand crash impacts 16 times the force of gravity. The seatbelt airbag allows airlines to achieve that goal without removing seating capacity.