1974-02-01

Improved Restraint for U. S. Army Aircrewmen 740584

The emphasis that has been placed on occupant safety in the space program and on our nation's highways during the past decade has resulted in the development of concepts and materials which significantly improve the performance characteristics of personnel restraint systems. However, the basic design of restraint systems presently used in Army aircraft has not been changed in many years, and the systems in use are not optimized to the practical limits of existing technology. In an effort to rectify this situation, modern restraint system technology was surveyed and a proposed military specification defining a forward-facing restraint system for use in Army aircraft was formulated. The materials, design concepts, and features found desirable for maximizing protection were included in the specification.
A subsequent effort oriented towards developing a restraint system meeting the requirements of the specification and testing this system to assure its adequacy and the applicability to Army aircraft was conducted. The intent of this effort was to modify and refine the specification as necessary to produce definitions of an optimum restraint system that can be fabricated within the present state of the art.
Since the specified restraint system consists of many separate and relatively complex components which would be costly to develop from scratch, the philosophy was established to maximize usage of existing hardware. Major problems encountered were the modification and production of components meeting the intent of the specification using existing hardware as a base. Items that fell into this category include the lap belt retractor, the double inertia reel, the single-point release buckle, the adjusters, and webbing of sufficiently low elongation. The new restraint system also required more sophisticated and specialized testing procedures to assure adequate performance of the system. The completed effort resulted in a thorough evaluation of restraint system technology relative to the requirements for an aircrew restraint system for Army aircraft. The proposed military specification was revised as necessary to reflect the state of the art in restraint systems so that it can be used by the Army to purchase restraint systems that meet the Army's current needs. Verification that the requirements of the proposed military specification can be met were demonstrated and the results illustrated that a modern, up-to-date restraint system for Army aircraft can be designed and developed within current restraint system technology.

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