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A landing accident provided a real-life laboratory for studying impact forces of approximately the maximum considered survivable. Several studies determined that the legs-back brace position would be best for forward-facing passengers at impact. A U.K. report on the various studies also recommended an optimum 32-inch (81 cm) seat pitch and three-point seat belts.
Determining the toxicity of smoke released from various cabin materials in aircraft fires is difficult, because toxicity depends on specific conditions that affect smoke composition, says one report summarizing the status of materials toxicology research. Other reports discuss computer evacuation models and cabin water-spray systems.
Canadian Report of Airliner Evacuations Cites Six Safety Recommendations 8 pages. [PDF 45K]
The report identified safety deficiencies associated with communication during evacuation, exit operation, passenger preparedness and the presence of fire, smoke and toxic fumes.
Passengers and flight attendants on USAir Flight 1016 were buckled in their seats for a landing when a routine flight turned to tragedy. Flight attendant Richard DeMary survived the terrifying crash and went on to risk his life to save fellow crew members and passengers.
November 1994–February 1995
Devices designed for automobile seats do not readily adapt to airplane seats. Most were found to be impractical or useless. Only aft-facing carriers for children weighing less than 20 pounds
fully met safety criteria, and even they would create inconvenience for nearby passengers. Nevertheless, FAA officials and other researchers say that any restraint is better than holding a child in an adult’s lap during an accident. Advocates of improved restraints argue that children are currently being treated like “carry-on baggage” and deserve the same safety protection as adults.