The Case for Safer Seats

More survivors might have walked away from the latest DC-10 disasters had they been sitting in safer seats required by the Federal Aviation Administration in all new aircraft. About half of all passenger injuries in survivable accidents result from the seat either slamming down on its occupant or breaking loose. The new seat can tolerate velocity changes of up to 16Gs, or a force of 16 times the occupant's body weight, an improvement from the current level of 9Gs. The agency will soon propose that older planes be refitted with these new seats by 1995.

No matter how safe the seat,...

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