Skip to comments.Questioning Safety of Heavy Passengers on Planes
Posted on 05/08/2012 10:18:55 AM PDT by Brandonmark
More than six decades ago, when the federal standards on the strength of airplane seats and seat belts were written, government regulations specified that seats be designed for a passenger weight of 170 pounds. But now the average American man weighs nearly 194 pounds and the average woman 165.
Now, some engineers and scientists have raised questions about whether airplane seats, tested with crash dummies that reflect the 170-pound rule, are strong enough to protect heavy travelers.
If a heavier person completely fills a seat, the seat is not likely to behave as intended during a crash, said Robert Salzar, the principal scientist at the Center for Applied Biomechanics at the University of Virginia. The energy absorption that is built into the aircraft seat is likely to be overwhelmed and the occupants will not be protected optimally.
Nor would the injury necessarily be confined to that passenger, Dr. Salzar said. If seats collapse or belts fail, he said, those seated nearby could be endangered from the unrestrained motion of the passenger.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
In the event of a crash, just what part of the aircraft will be 'behaving as intended', anyway?
Is this actually a worry? I mean, is it that they’re getting calls from crippled fatties, or is it a theoretical problem that only popped up when someone did the math on the 170-pound rule? Because, I’ll tell you, we have a lot of other things to worry about. How many people are affected by plane accidents, really? And how many plane accidents are hard enough to hurt you without killig you?
I swear, if they could figure how the victims of out of date safety rules, it’d be something like 13 people.
Notice the narrative in the media the last few days attacking ‘fatties’? Yep! Obamacare!
Rush is ALL OVER this, today!
I’m sorry, but I think “big boned” folks should pay more for airfare. Why not charge by the pound, like we do steak, or volume as we do for so many things?
I go about 5’7” and 150 pounds, a few years ago my bag was 52 pounds and I got nailed $50 or so for the 2 pound overage. I turned around to see the next passenger who was 6’5” and 300+, and I wondered how I got nailed for 2 pounds and my wife and I weighed less than that giant.
Does this mean that Michelle can’t fly commercial? How are they going to get back to Chicago in January?
The men in my family (and women) are extremely tall. The women are 6 ft. to 6’3 the men range from 6’2-6’7. Sure a 5 ft 10 gentleman is likely to look healthy at 170 lbs or less but a 6ft 7 gentleman looks like he just got out of a prison camp at less than 170. These people just lump everyone into a category and forget that everyone is not made in the image of government guidelines. I would venture to say that based on height and size Mrs. Obama surpasses the airline “safety” guidlines.
Here’s the narrative throughout:
Someone has gotten their ‘marching orders’.
If they are fat, they are a danger to themselves as well as other passengers and crew.
Do not let the overweight people on the plane.
By that logic, an AIDS victim who gets cut in a plane crash could endanger all of those in the vicinity.
But then, the BMI police don’t see things that way.
I figure...maybe a few airplane seats have saved a few people...somehow or another. But, I’d say it’s really not all that important.
I’m not sure what advantage/disadvantage weight makes when your falling from 30,000 feet.
I just realized something, This war on weight began as Chris Christie is considering the VP slot. Coincidence? I think not.
When the IDEAL weight for a man who is 6 foot is 180, shouldn’t the seats be designed to deal with more that 170 pounds?
Or should everyone be gaunt or short or shot?
And how many plane accidents are hard enough to hurt you without killig you?
The point is that we should not let people impair the safety of others. If a bank of three seats is rated for 510 lbs, then there should be appropriate limits and rules.
Note that increasing the weight “capacity” of the seats no only makes the aircraft heavier and thus flying more expensive, but it harms the safety of normal passengers, because the seats are designed to collapse controllably (like car structures) to absorb the energy of the crash.
Certainly, if someone is 250 pounds (50% over the limit) they should be paying a surcharge, and a seat should be left empty between two biggies.
If someone is much more than that (say, over 300) then they should have two seats (leave it to the airline how and whether to charge them.
Mind your own business Michelle obama.
Your 2 lb overage fee is to discourage people from packing heavy objects in baggage that has to be handled by many different people. You see the people at check in, the people who load the bags on the conveyor belt into the aircraft, but what about those people you don’t see? Those folk in the belly of the aircraft who have to stack the baggage in confined areas, the people who load the racks behind the ticket counter.
Although a lot is automated, it’s not all automated, and a lot of people will touch your luggage before you pick it up at your destination. The goal is to arrive at some ‘reasonable’ weight that allows you to pack, but doesn’t permanently harm the baggage handling personnel from the ticket gate, all the way to the baggage claim.
50 lbs was the weight the airlines decided on. And as a frequent flier, it’s pretty easy to manage this. All it takes is a bathroom scale, some 3rd grade arithmatic and a few minutes of your time.
Life would be a lot easier if everyone were blessed with your height/weight; but life isn’t fair.
The safety guidelines presume a butt that is less than two axe handles wide.
The point is that we should not let people impair the safety of others.
And yet they allow terrorists on. I suppose they fit the guidelines but I would feel much better seeing a fat person get on board.
Yes, because as a fat person, when that terrorist gets up to charge the cockpit, I can fall down on them and keep them in place until they’re properly restrained. And punch them in the back of the head a few times while I’m down there.
(And yes, I’m a fatso.)
Yes, you should get to check bags over the wieght limit.
After all, I'm sure it's been a challenge being puny all your life.
How about total weight, not just passenger weight? Weigh the passenger and all baggage and ring 'em up.
(I wonder how much that study is going to cost us?)
But they could provide extra cushion for the rest of us.
LOL! That's rich! The ideal weight of a rhinoceros is about 4,500 pounds but that doesn't get him an aisle seat.
It was especially well illustrated in a Top Gear episode I saw last night. They ran a small 4-door hatchback to 70mph, braked to a full stop and measured total distance.
With only the tiny 130lb stunt driver, the car did it in about 320 meters total.
With three obese passengers and the same driver, it took about 520 meters total. Both braking and acceleration performance declined by over 50%. I wish they also did a cornering test.
Keep in mind this was done without any luggage. Also, these people were obese but I've seen way bigger. I can't imagine the results if 4 super obese people and their luggage was included...
yep. "Don't worry about the 20000 foot fall, or the crash, or the ensuing fireball. I've got an FAA-approved seat!"
That's like driving over a cliff and thinking you'll be fine because of the airbags.
Obese people die most readily in a crash. F=MA. Physics is a heartless bitch.
At 5’7” you should ask to ride in the overhead bins. /s
I was aboard a plane this weekend that had a women, who was VERY LARGE,taking up 1 1/2 seats. I was across the aisle and one row back in the over wing exit row. Not only she wouldn’t be able to fit through the exit ,if she tried she would have gotten stuck. In the event of an accident she would have gotten people killed.
She shouldn’t have been allowed to board.
I think they ought to charge a fixed fare from one spot to another to cover overhead, and then each passenger should pay a “fuel surcharge” to pay for the fuel that that individual will require to be moved from point a to point b.
Moreover, besides the soda tax, I say no restaurant should be allowed to serve over 1000 calories to any individual at one time.
Excellent question. The pricing models airlines have used for 40 years has been just plain stupid.
Give`em cargo parachutes instead.
Ban lardasses from airplanes!!!
While I might agree with you on the airline pricing scheme you have come up with, please keep your calorie counting to yourself, and find somewhere else to focus your energy other than my menu selections. Free will ya know.
& BTW I’m not a fattie! 5’10 and a fit 180lbs.
5’10” 180lbs gives you a BMI of 25.82 so according to the government you are overweight. Sorry your meal choices will now be made by a government employee. /s
We all have a good laugh at those BMI numbers here at work when our yearly insurance checkups are due. I’m supposed to be around 165lbs, I haven’t weighed that since I was in xcountry track in high school! Nearly 30 years ago!
Damn, I’m old. What happened?
(And yes, Im a fatso.)
No sir. You are a Patriot! :)
Yeah I remember when I went to Ranger school, nearly 30 years ago also. I was 190 lbs at 6’ 1” and overweight, BMI is pure BS.
The safety guidelines presume a butt that is less than two axe handles wide.
I do believe you just called FLOTUS a Battle-axe! (if the shoe fits!)
So - any crash that would cause seat failure - isn’t likely one you will survive anyway... so whats the deal with the seat “behaving as intended”...
And fat people should be required to wear a patch in the shape of a fork too, right? Any other good totalitarian ideas you can come up with, while we're at it?
Way I figure, if everything on the plane was functioning as intended, you’d land safe sitting on an orange crate. If it crashes, I think there is more malfunctioning to worry about than the seat...
Wouldn't any decent engineer would take that requirement and design for 340 pounds?
I regret that I have but one pizza-and-beer gut to give in the service of my country.