Aeropatent has discovered a new patent submitted by German aircraft seat manufacturer, Recaro, for an airbag deployment system which would protect passengers from head and shoulders injuries during a crash.
The airbag proposed in the patent would deploy in the front panel of an angled lay-flat Business Class or First Class seat which usually holds the in-flight entertainment screen.
Recaro has considerable experience in ground transport and the automotive market so their application of this technology has a sound foundation.
This isn’t the first application of airbags to protect passengers on Premium seats from dynamic impact.
In fact, seat belt manufacturers, AmSafe, already offer inflatable airbags built into seat belt restraints. I wrote a piece for the Runway Girl Network back in 2014, explaining the benefits of these airbag seat belts which also explains the crash dynamics involved.
But recent findings by regulators on the physical impact in dynamic seats, as well as a desire for greater density seating leading to seat designs which place Premium passengers at oblique angles, have led to new design restrictions and more stringent regulations. Seat manufacturers are aware of changing regulations which may require a change to the seat structure, or extra safety measures.
Rakibul Islam, vice president of compliance and certification at Zodiac Aerospace and chairman of SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) explained the changing requirements in detail to Aircraft Interiors International Magazine in the article Fit to Fly.
This patent by Recaro involves a bag built into the seat structure itself which has an added benefit of resolving HIC (Head Impact Criteria) issues for in-flight entertainment screens.
It is a smart solution to regulatory requirements concerned with reducing passenger risks, a product the industry needs, well-developed, and should take off.
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