Brace Position

October 30, 2006

Well here’s a surprise. I have just been on a Qantas flight and got to thinking about the phrase “brace position – which one would you use?”.

Does it really matter about the correct brace position in a crash? Surely if a plane crashes, you’re stuffed?

Well, apparently not!

I was not hard to find references to research into plane crash statistics and it seems that I was wrong. It does matter. In the extraordinary serendipity that seems to operate frequently, the BBC science series – Horizon – has investigated this very question almost to the day that I was pondering it.

Tom Barth from AmSafe Aviation, an expert in how to survive an impact, is quoted by the BBC as saying “The brace position is a position that will offer you the best chance to survive in a crash because it stops you from flying forward and striking the seat or interior in front of you,”

I am moderately reassured by the fact that in the US alone, between 1983 and 2000, there were 568 plane crashes. Out of the collective 53,487 people onboard, 51,207 survived. Reassured until I realize that those statistics include survival figures from small planes as well as huge, heavy, fast jet aircraft. I wonder what the survival rate is for passengers in large aircraft?

Fortunately the only clear stats I could find, show that all 122 passengers and 7 crew survived a crash in Sweden in 1991. It appears that the brace position saved their lives.

So I feel better. Except for one question. The pilot survived as did the co-pilot. Were they in the brace position? And if so, who was flying the plane?

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One Response to “Brace Position”

  1. Josh Gebbie Says:

    Amazing Site. I’m Lucky to Have Come Across It.


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