Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
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Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia

Myth-Breaker Webpage

The aircraft brace position is primary for minimizing the chance of your head flying off during an aircraft crash and thus makes identification of bodies easier

Lachlan Cranswick's homepage is at http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/

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The Myth:

The aircraft brace position is primary for minimizing the chance of your head flying off and making identification of bodies easier


Background

One being recently (2002) driven to Tullamarine airport, it was claimed that the primary reason for taking the brace position in an aircraft prior to a crash landing is that it minimizes the chance of your head flying off its hinges (literally) at the point of aircraft impact and helps make identification of bodies easier.


Breaking the Myth?

Tricky for those who continue to believe this - but it does look like the brace position saves lives and limits injury.


The Evidence

  • Aircraft: In an emergency:

    • http://www.casa.gov.au/airsafe/trip/emergen.htm

    • "It has been proven that passengers who assume the brace position sustain substantially less serious injuries than other passengers. A twin engined aircraft struck terrain during a landing approach in less than favourable conditions. Most of the 16 passengers were sleeping or reading and there was no warning of the imminent accident. One passenger woke up, looked out the window and saw the aircraft was about to hit trees. He imediately lowered his head and braced his arms and knees against the seat back in front of him. He suffered a fractured leg and wrist and a scalp wound. He was the only survivor."

  • UK Kegworth: 10 years on (Friday, January 8, 1999 )

    • http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_250000/250959.stm

    • It is 10 years since a British Midland passenger jet en route from Heathrow to Northern Ireland crashed a few hundred yards from the runway at East Midlands airport, killing 47 people.

      The Boeing 737-400 ploughed into an embankment of the M1 motorway near the Leicestershire village of Kegworth.

      More than 70 of the passengers survived. Probably because traffic was light late on a Sunday evening, no-one travelling along what is normally one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Europe was involved.

    • "Professor Angus Walace of the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham said: "We discovered a lot of those on board had not adopted a brace position for the impact.

      "There were many fractures where people's legs flailed under the seat infront, and of course arm and head injuries as they shot forward.

      "I'm pleased to say the CAA and British airlines have now adopted our recommended brace position with you head forward by your knees, your hands over your head, and your feet firmly planted behind your knees so they can't shoot forward."

      But Prof Wallace would like to see further safety measures - including rear-facing seats in all aircraft, a possibility that has been considered and rejected by different airlines, and not purely, they say, for reasons of cost.

      Backwards is safer

      Chairman of British Midland Airways, Sir Michael Bishop said: "There is no doubt that research has shown it is safer to fly backwards.

      "However, the public don't want it - they don't want to fly backwards. Somehow they feel more frightened if they face backwards than forwards." "


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