Use of Automobile Safety Equipment on an Airplane Highlights the difference between Certification of Aircraft by FAA and of Cars by Manufacturers

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ARTICLE  FAA looking to install inflatable lapbelts as safety precaution on airplanes

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 25

[Docket No. FAA–2013–0453; Special

Conditions No. 25–489–SC]

Special Conditions: The Boeing

Company, Model 717–200 Series

Airplanes; Seats With Inflatable

Lapbelts

AGENCY: Federal Aviation

Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final Special Condition;

Request for Comments.

The Boeing Company is proposing to borrow from the automobile industry the idea of using inflatable lap belts. This device will, if approved as a Special Condition by the FAA, be installed in the B-717. After years of use in many automobiles, Boeing is attempting to add to the safety margin of flying.

The FAA notice includes a number of appropriate concerns about the transfer of this technology from cars to planes. After public comments, the inflatable lap belt would be subjected to tests, FAA review thereof, responses by Boeing, issuance of FAA type and production approvals and continuing airworthiness reviews (ADs).

Millions of people travel in cars which are sold to the public with only self-certification by the manufacturers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the power to investigate problems when they surface.

The inflatable lap belts at issue in the FAA’s notice were introduced into the nation’s fleet without prior approval. The same device requires extensive tests under thorough federal scrutiny BEFORE the manufacturer includes it.

The traveling public has good reason to relax when she or he sits down in an airplane.

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