The brace position in Aviation

Within the realm of aviation, accidents are actually quite rare despite some beliefs. Nevertheless, aircraft engineers and personnel must make sure that they are always well-prepared and trained for such a scenario in case it ever happens. In the instance of an aircraft crash, it is important that all passengers and crew members undertake the necessary actions to prevent bodily harm and uphold safety. In this blog, we will discuss the brace position, that of which is an instruction given to passengers to best prepare for a crash.

Whether an aircraft is conducting an emergency landing on land or water, the brace or crash position is followed for upholding safety. There is no single way in which the brace position is assumed, and various countries differ in their methods based on guidance from aviation authorities and research. Nevertheless, the most popular method is the brace position for forward-facing seats, due to the fact that most passenger aircraft follow a similar cabin configuration.

For a forward-facing seat in which a passenger is only provided a lap belt, there are a few commonalities that are followed for the brace position. First off, one’s head should be held against, or close to, the surface that it may strike upon impact, that of which is typically the seat in front of someone or a bulkhead. Then, the passenger should bend themselves forward over their belt, ensuring that they are secure and unable to be slid loose from the seat. Lastly, all feet should remain flat on the floor. While other specifics may differ by the airline or the country of operation, such procedures are followed due to the various case studies that have proven the effectiveness of the brace position.

If the person in question is a crew member or individual with a jumpseat, then the brace position may vary. With the differing designs of jumpseats, the research for effective positions is less thorough than what has been conducted for passengers. Despite this, airlines have established various guidelines for positioning. For a rear-facing jumpseat, the crew member should place their back and head against the jumpseat for protection. Then, their knees and feet should be held together in the “toes to tail” position. Depending on the country of operation and the guidelines that the particular airline follows, attendants may either place their hands behind their head or on their knees. Forward-facing jumpseats follow a somewhat similar process, differing in the fact that feet are placed behind the knees and the chin may be pressed against the chest.

The last major bracing position concerns infants who are often placed in one’s lap during a typical flight. While following the standard bracing positions as discussed above for the guardian, the infant should be cradled with one arm to protect their head. In some areas such as the UK, the child should be strapped into a safety belt. While rulings may differ based on the authority governing regulations, the best way to protect an infant is to use a child safety seat that is aviation certified.

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