Airbags in Aviation

(Embedded from on 7 Sept2011)


With the success of airbags, a nature progression has lead the technology from the automotive industry into aviation. The airbags will help reduce injury and save lives during accidents that might otherwise cause death. In aviation these airbags are located in seat belt.

The airbags deploy outward away from the occupant and fills the space between them and the aircraft structure. This also helps reduce the accidents that airbag have been known in cause in cars because the bags deploy away from the occupant instead of towards.

The Airbags have already saved lives in aviation and their experiences can be found on Youtube (an example is located at the bottom of the page under want to know more). There are also steps to increase further use and understanding of their presence.

How the airbag works

Watch this video to see an explanation of how the seatbelts work.

(video embeded from YouTube)


In order for the seatbelt airbag to work correctly the seatbelt must be secure. Therefore, if the seatbelt is not locked correctly it will not work. In order to prevent this always check your seatbelt is secure fasten each time you put it on.

NTSB Recommendations

In 2003, the National Safety Transport Board recommends:
To modify restraint systems to not allow misuse and to also allow correct function a seatbelt airbag designed for that plane
Revise standards to prevent misuse
Provide guidance of ways that will demonstrate effectiveness of the restraint system
Evaluate the safety benefits
Track each individual safety system that helps improve survivability in crashes1

Airbags in General Aviation

This system is able to provide extra safety even in GA. With the AMSAFE’s seatbelt airbags being the most popular, these bags can now be seen in the new single-engine aircraft. There is also a possibility of the demand for these systems to become global. With airbags in general aviation is will help increase the survivability of some of the accidents that can occur during training or other activities2.

1. Hersman D.A.P. (Feb 2011). National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, D.C. 20594, Safety Recommendation Retrieved from
2. PAPPALARDO J. (Mar 2009). Airbags on Planes: Will a New FAA Regulation Pave the Way for Airbag Seatbelts? Retrieved from
+++ Footnotes +++
3. ###

Want to know more?

Surviving a Crash with Airbag

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