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Airbags making their way onto airplanes

October 21, 2010, 06:57 am

Enhanced safety features are coming to some business and commercial jet aircraft. Some planes will now be equipped with a seatbelt airbag to help protect occupants from head injury.

The new seatbelts will be offered on almost 50,000 aircraft. The device, made by AmSafe, is reportedly installed in 80 percent of all new single-engine general aviation aircraft. B/E Aerospace, which designs backless sofas for planes, will be equipped with the seatbelt.

B/E Aerospace vice president and general manager Chuck Barresi says the device makes sense both economically and safety wise.

"The Seatbelt Airbag is the most practical and cost-effective solution to reduce neck loading and provide head and body-to-body contact protection for side-facing divan occupants," says Barresi. "It allows for more flexibility in cabin layouts and demonstrates our proactive commitment to address side-facing occupant protection."

The Associated Press reports that airbags on airplanes have been slow to catch on, however, they are picking up popularity in general aviation aircraft. They note that flight schools, in particular, are likely to purchase a plane equipped with an airbag.

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