Coming Soon: Airplane Air BagsS

Air France flight 447 plunged 35,000 feet into the Atlantic earlier this month, obliterating everyone aboard. Last night, a Yemenia Airways flight ditched in the Indian Ocean, killing 152. If only those planes had been equipped with air bags!

At one time, airline safety generally meant one thing: avoiding a crash. But safety regulators are increasingly focusing on surviving one.

I'll still opt for the "avoiding one" route, thanks! But researchers say that by putting in air bags and stronger seats, you'll have a better chance of surviving a minor accident, like, say, missing the runway.

In some airline crashes, the strength of the seats is irrelevant because the crash is not what the engineers call "survivable."

Technical! But tell me, New York Times, how do these so-called "engineers" know that having an airplane seat thrown at you at a high rate of speed is such a bad thing?

Safety regulators decided to impose the new rules after they found that passengers might survive a crash were they not crushed to death when the seats tore loose from the floor.

An interesting theory.
[NYT. Pic via]