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Air Platform Passive Occupant Protection



OBJECTIVE: Develop air platform occupant safety improvements to prevent injury or fatality within the constraints associated with legacy air vehicles. The focus is to prevent the vehicle occupants from striking interior hard points, such as the control stick or aircraft structure, during a crash or hard landing. 

DESCRIPTION: Current Military Helicopters and Fixed Wing Aircraft use occupant safety systems based on older technologies. These older systems may not always adequately address occupant extreme movement during crash or hard landings. Innovations are sought to reduce the negative effects of occupant shoulder and head pitchout during a crash. This pitchout can allow the occupants head or upper torso to strike hard interior areas that cannot be padded or protected. The intense contact forces can result in crippling injury or fatality. The need operate with legacy aircraft systems present a number of challenges. The ideal system must assimilate into the vehicle without the need for a form, fit, or function modification to any other part of the aircraft. The system must operate without any need for aircraft power or other interactions. Added weight is a concern. The system should not add more than one pound of aircraft weight per occupant. The innovation should be unobtrusive, easy to operate, and be comfortable for the user. The innovation should reduce the negative outcome of occupant head and shoulder pitch out away from the seatback, when compared to the aircraft legacy system, during a crash event. This reduction in negative consequence should be verified in a dynamic crash testing. The innovation should accommodate all flight crew anthropomorphic sizes and weights. The innovation should be unobtrusive for crew use and not require any additional human interaction from the crew or other personnel, to use. The innovation should not complicate maintenance or servicing of the aircraft. 

PHASE I: Perform a design study to support of the development of a system that will integrate seamlessly with existing crash worthy aircraft systems on rotary wing and fixed wing military aircraft. Conduct an assessment of appropriate technologies which may be utilized to build, integrate, and test a system to meet the challenges listed above. Perform a trade-off analysis to determine the best approach for a system. Fully develop a preliminary engineering design. 

PHASE II: Develop an initial prototype for evaluation and comment by aircrews and safety experts. Enhance the initial prototype into a high fidelity advanced system that will allow fit check, testing, qualification, and retrofit into selected aircraft crashworthy seat systems. Demonstrate the capability of the advanced system to perform better than legacy components. The capability demonstration will be by testing in crash environment similar to those in MIL-R- 58095A or SAE 8049. Verify aircraft suitability by testing to MIL-STD-810 or FAA TSO 8043 requirements for safe to fly status on selected aircraft. 

PHASE III: The innovation developed under this topic can be offered as a tested and qualified solution to improve crash safety across military and FAA aircraft. The expectation is that government and civilian aircraft program office, design centers, and manufactures would procure this innovation to support their production systems. 


1: MIL-R-58095A, Seat System: Crash-Resistant, Non-Ejection, Aircrew, General Specification For

2:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208, Occupant Crash protection

3:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 209, Seat Belt Assemblies

4:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 210, Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages

5:  Federal Aviation Administration Technical Standard Order (FAA TSO)-C22g, Safety Belts

6:  Federal Aviation Administration Technical Standard Order (FAA TSO)-C114, Torso Restraint Systems

7:  Federal Aviation Administration Technical Standard Order (FAA TSO)-C127, Rotorcraft, Transport Airplane, and Small Airplane Seating Systems

8:  Federal Aviation Administration Technical Standard Order (FAA TSO)-C39, Aircraft Seats and Berths

9:  Society of Automotive Engineers Aerospace Standard (SAE AS) 8043, Torso Restraint Systems

10:  Society of Automotive Engineers Aerospace Standard (SAE AS) 8049, Performance Standard for Seats in Civil Rotorcraft and Transport Airplanes

KEYWORDS: Safety, Crashworthy, Occupant Protection 


Linda Taylor Taylor 

(256) 876-2883 

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