Pretensioners and Injury Risk
FORENSIC SAFETY GROUP HATBORO PA
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In recent years rotary wing aircraft restraint systems that incorporate pretensiones have appeared on the market. While similar systems have been available and used in production automobiles for over 30 years, there have been concerns regarding the potential of injuring occupants should such systems be fielded in aircraft. This paper provides an overview of the purpose and function of a pretensioner. It discusses the performance enhancements provided by pretensioned restraint systems in ground vehicles. It also discusses the protection offered by pretensioned restraint systems and provides an overview of the literature related to thoracic and other injuries in pretensioned restraint systems. The benefits a pretensioner is expected to provide in fixed and rotary wing aircraft and integration issues will also be discussed. Based on the research performed and the real world performance of pretensioners in the automotive environment, it is apparent that pretensions have great potential to decrease the risk of injury to occupants in aircraft without introducing ant significant potential for injury as result of the loads generated by the pretensioner itself.
- Safety Engineering