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To assume a brace or crash position is an instruction that can be given to prepare for a crash, such as on an aircraft; the instruction to 'brace for impact!' or 'brace! brace!' is often given if the aircraft must make an emergency landing or land on water. There are many different ways to adopt the brace position, with many countries adopting their own version based on research performed by their own aviation authority or that of other countries. The most common in passenger airliners being the forward-facing seat version, in which the person bracing places their head against or as close as possible to the surface it is likely to strike (and in the process bending over to some degree), placing their feet firmly on the floor, and their hands either on their head or the seat in front.
There are many different ways to adopt the brace position, with many countries adopting their own version based on research performed by their own aviation authority or that of other countries. There is commonality among all brace positions despite these variations.
For a forward seated passenger wearing only a lap belt, common recommendations for the brace position include:
In the United Kingdom, the brace-for-impact position for forward-facing passengers was optimised following the Kegworth air disaster in 1989. In that incident, the pilot announced "Prepare for crash landing" 10 seconds before impact, and the resulting injuries—from both those who did and did not adopt the brace position—would later be studied. The UK Civil Aviation Authority funded an engineering–medical joint research team, led by Nigel Rock of Hawtal Whiting Engineering Consultants and Prof. Angus Wallace of the Nottingham University Hospital and aided by Wing Commander David Anton of the Royal Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine. Crash data was supplemented by medical information from the University of Nottingham and testing at the Institute of Aviation Medicine. The work used mathematical modelling derived from the automobile industry to analyse the human body under crash conditions. (See "Further reading" below.)
This work led to the formation of the International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events (IBRACE) on 21 November 2016.
The brace position as set out to airlines in the UK for passengers in forward-facing seats is based on extensive analytical work arising from Kegworth. It is subtly different from that in the United States and some other countries. Passengers should place their feet and knees together with their feet firmly on the floor (either flat or on the balls of their feet) and tucked behind the knees to prevent shins and legs from being broken against the base of the seat in front. They should bend as far forward as possible, resting their head against the seat in front if it is within reach and place their hands on the back of their head, with the hands one on top of another (rather than interlocked). Their elbows should then be brought in. This prevents both flailing of the arms in the crash sequence and protects the head from flying debris. The head should be as far below the top of the seats as possible to prevent injury from any collapsing overhead compartments.
The brace procedure for the forward-facing seat in the United States is similar to that of the UK, but rather than placing the hands on the back of the head, passengers are advised to place them on the top of the seat in front, one hand holding the other wrist and resting the head in the space between the arms. If the seat in front is not within reach then passengers are advised to either grab their ankles or place their hands under their legs and grab the opposite forearm.
Flight attendant brace positions are somewhat different due to the design of aircraft jumpseats. So far, there has been little research into the best brace position for flight attendants, though airlines have adopted positions that are very similar to one another.
In rear-facing seats, the attendant should be sitting with their back and head firmly against the back of the jumpseat, their knees and feet together and slightly in front of or behind the knee (depending on the individual airlines procedures)—commonly referred to as "toes to tail". In European carriers, the hands can be placed behind the head and hands one on top of the other and the elbows brought in to meet, taking care that the forearm does not cover the ear and restrict hearing. This position provides the flight attendant protection to the face from any flying debris (as it will impact their elbows) yet still provides them with the ability to view the cabin and not muffle their commands. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not recommend placing the hands behind the neck as their research suggests such actions can cause unnecessary loading on the neck and spine during an impact.Instead, US flight attendants are typically taught to sit on their hands, palms facing the ceiling, underneath their upper legs. Other variations include clasping the hands on the knees or using one arm to "hug" the opposing arm.
For forward-facing jumpseats, the position is the same but with the feet behind the knees. Some airlines also require flight attendants to tuck their chin in to their chest ("bow to the captain") to reduce the likelihood of whiplash injuries.
There is also a third brace position for flight attendants, and that is the "normal" brace position. This is adopted by the attendant for every take-off and landing; it provides them with protection from any sudden emergencies and allows them to adopt the full brace position quickly should they need to. The only difference between the normal brace and the full brace position is that the attendants will either fold their arms across their stomach or immobilize them by placing their hands under their thighs with the palms up. This position forms part of every flight attendant's sixty second review—a technique being adopted by airlines whereby the attendant will go over various factors in their head during the take-off and landing sequence. Things such as "how do I open my door?", "where is the next nearest exit?", "am I over land or water?" and "what commands will I shout" are just a few of the questions an attendant will ask themselves. The belief is that this mental review focuses the attendant on the safety-critical role they have during take-off and landing and will result in faster decision-making and adaptation to the scenario.
Newer brace positions are being adopted by many U.S. airlines [ which? ] in which the flight attendants do not sit on their hands. Instead, they place their hands flat on top of their thighs. This new position is being adopted because in the event of a crash, sitting on hands can cause injury and/or crushing.[ citation needed ]
If carrying an infant on a lap, it is generally recommended that above positions should be adopted as best as possible, cradling the child with one arm and using this to also protect the child's head. In the UK, lap children are instructed to wear an infant safety belt which is a separate seat belt with a loop that connects to the parent's belt; however, in the United States such belts are not permitted by FAA regulations. The FAA believes that such baby belts significantly increase the risk of injury to the child.In the early era of commercial aviation, the recommended brace position for children was on the floor against a bulkhead; this has since been amended due to the position's lack of protection. The safest position for an infant is in an aviation certified child safety seat.
Many government aviation administrations or regulatory bodies mandate the depiction of how to adopt the brace position on aircraft safety cards and in-flight safety demonstrations. Examples are a 1993 ruling by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (issued in a Notice to Air Operator Certificate Holders 1993)and CAO 020.11 (section 14.1.3) issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia. The FAA has not required this instruction on flights to, from, or within the United States.
The depiction of how to adopt the brace position is not a basic standard set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
There have been myths surrounding the use of the brace procedure.One is that adopting the brace posture is only useful for preserving dental integrity for identification after a crash; another myth is that the position is designed to increase the chance of death to reduce insurance-paid medical cost. These myths have been debunked with evidence that the brace position "does indeed work to preserve lives in an air disaster."
In instances where the brace procedure has been adopted, injuries are reducedand lives are saved. In one accident, sixteen passengers were asleep on a twin-engined aircraft that was about to collide with trees. One passenger awoke, braced himself, and was the only survivor. When Scandinavian Airlines Flight 751 crashed in 1991, all passengers aboard survived; a "significant factor" to this outcome was the passengers' universal adoption of the brace position. During the "Miracle on the Hudson" emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009, the pilot warned "Brace for Impact" and flight attendants chanted, "Brace! Brace! Brace! Heads down! Stay down!" All 155 people on board survived with no life-threatening injuries. In a press interview, one of the surviving crew members of LaMia Flight 2933 said that he survived because he followed the emergency protocols by putting his carry-on suitcase between his legs and sitting in the brace position.
A flight attendant, also known as steward/stewardess or air host/airhostess, is a member of the aircrew aboard commercial flights, many business jets and some government aircraft. Collectively called cabin crew, flight attendants are primarily responsible for passenger safety and comfort.
The Kegworth air disaster occurred when British Midland Flight 92, a Boeing 737-400, crashed onto the motorway embankment between the M1 motorway and A453 road near Kegworth, Leicestershire, England, while attempting to make an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport on 8 January 1989.
United Airlines Flight 232 was a regularly scheduled United Airlines flight from Stapleton International Airport in Denver to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, continuing to Philadelphia International Airport. On July 19, 1989, the DC-10 serving the flight crash-landed at Sioux City, Iowa, after suffering a catastrophic failure of its tail-mounted engine, which led to the loss of many flight controls. Of the 296 passengers and crew on board, 112 died during the accident, while 184 people survived. The crash was the fifth-deadliest one involving the DC-10, behind Turkish Airlines Flight 981, American Airlines Flight 191, Air New Zealand Flight 901, and UTA Flight 772. Despite the deaths, the accident is considered a prime example of successful crew resource management because of the large number of survivors and the manner in which the flight crew handled the emergency and landed the airplane without conventional control.
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On the evening of February 1, 1991, USAir Flight 1493, a Boeing 737-300, collided with SkyWest Flight 5569, a Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner turboprop aircraft, upon landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Though air traffic was not heavy at LAX, as Flight 1493 was on final approach the local controller was distracted by a series of abnormalities, including a misplaced flight progress strip and an aircraft that had inadvertently switched off the tower frequency. The SkyWest flight was told to taxi into takeoff position while the USAir flight was landing on the same runway.
American Airlines Flight 96 was a regular domestic flight operated by American Airlines from Los Angeles to New York via Detroit and Buffalo. On June 12, 1972, the left rear cargo door of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 operating the flight blew open and broke off en route between Detroit and Buffalo above Windsor, Ontario; the accident is thus sometimes referred to as the Windsor incident, although for the NTSB it is an accident, therefore not an incident.
American Airlines Flight 625, a Boeing 727-100, crashed at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands on April 27, 1976, while on a domestic scheduled passenger flight originating at T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island and ending at Saint Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, with an intermediate stop at John F. Kennedy International Airport. 37 out of the 88 passengers on board died in the accident.
Air France Flight 296Q was a chartered flight of a new Airbus A320-111 operated by Air France for Air Charter. On 26 June 1988, the plane crashed while making a low pass over Mulhouse–Habsheim Airport as part of the Habsheim Air Show. Most of the crash sequence, which occurred in front of several thousand spectators, was caught on video. The cause of the crash has been the source of major controversy.
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Northeast Airlines Flight 946 was a domestic U.S. flight from Boston, Massachusetts, to Montpelier, Vermont, with a scheduled stop in Lebanon, New Hampshire, operated by Northeast Airlines. On October 25, 1968, some time during the evening, the Fairchild Hiller FH-227 aircraft crashed on Moose Mountain while descending on approach. The crash killed 32 of 42 passengers and crew. Of the fatalities, four were employees from the National Life Insurance Company who were returning from a business trip. The fatalities also included a reporter for the Barre Daily Times and six social workers of the Vermont Head Start Supplementary Training Program on a conference trip. Ten passengers survived the crash with minor or moderate injuries. After the crash, Northeast Airlines continued flight service until its merger with Delta Air Lines in the early 1970s.
An airline seat is a seat on an airliner in which passengers are accommodated for the duration of the journey. Such seats are usually arranged in rows running across the airplane's fuselage. A diagram of such seats in an aircraft is called an aircraft seat map.
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Continental Charters Flight 44-2, a domestic non scheduled passenger flight from Miami, Florida to Buffalo, New York, crashed on December 29, 1951 near Napoli, New York. The twin engine C-46 Commando, registration N3944C, crashed approximately 10:25 pm in adverse weather conditions. Of the four crew and 36 passengers on board, three crew members and 23 passengers perished. The flight crew's poor judgment in attempting a flight by visual reference during instrument weather conditions was the cause of the accident.
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was a scheduled transpacific passenger flight originating from Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea. On the morning of July 6, 2013, the Boeing 777-200ER crashed on final approach into San Francisco International Airport in the United States. Of the 307 people on board, 3 died; another 187 were injured, 49 of them seriously. Among the seriously injured were four flight attendants who were thrown onto the runway while still strapped in their seats when the tail section broke off after striking the seawall short of the runway. It was the first fatal crash of a Boeing 777 since the aircraft type entered service in 1995.
The International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events (IBRACE) was founded on 21 November 2016 by a group of subject-matter experts in aviation, engineering, clinical medicine, and human factors. These experts are associated with organizations that include the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, USA (CAMI); Cranfield University, England; GRM Consulting Ltd., England; Spire Liverpool Hospital, England; TÜV Rheinland, Germany; the University of Calgary, Canada; the University of Nottingham, England; and Wonkwang University, Korea.
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Air Niugini Flight 73 was a scheduled service from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, via Chuuk, FSM. On September 28, 2018, the flight, operated by a Boeing 737, landed short of the runway at Chuuk International Airport in Weno (FSM) and came to rest in Chuuk Lagoon. Locals in small boats rescued most passengers and all crew members. One passenger was initially declared missing. He was later found dead by rescue divers. Forty-six people survived but six of them were injured.