A small number of general aviation aircraft accidents selected from the files of the Civil Aeromedical Institute illustrate potential injury severity in various crash situations. It appears that crash injuries, especially to the head and chest, are apt to be more severe in aircraft involved in forward, right side up crash decelerations in which the occupants are restrained by seat belts only. Minor injury, severe crashes are described in which the principle crash forces were: to the side, forward with the aircraft inverted, or forward with the aircraft right side up but with the occupants utilizing both seat belt and shoulder harness restraint. Apparently to avoid serious injury in general aviation crash impacts, one must avoid striking the rigid, non-padded instrument panel.
In addition, a single case is presented to illustrate the high probability of injury to the spine and internal organs in present-day aircraft when the principle crash forces are vertical.