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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: safety, accident prevention, protection

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: safety, accident prevention, protection


Thread: safety, accident prevention, protection

Message: safety, accident prevention, protection

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: "Dr. Guenther Eichhorn" <gei at>

Date: Sat, 24 Feb 1996 16:58:54 UTC


There was a lot of e-mail about protective gear in the last few days,
but I haven't heard much discussion about the one question that I
asked myself first when it started: Is all this going to help?  (I
want to exclude the parachute from this discussion because I think
everybody agrees that it really can safe your life.)

A fire extinguisher or a single layer Nomex suit is not going to safe
you when you crash your airplane like Rick did.  All the proposals
that Kurt mailed out make perfect sense in a vehicle on the ground
(like race cars).  And they probably would alleviate accidents during
startup and taxiing.  That is why I wear Nomex gloves, a ground fire
can really hurt your hands while you get out of the plane.  But all
that equipment is not going to help if you really crash.  There is one
exception in my opinion:  A LIGHT helmet might help you when you get
banged around in the airplane during an attempt to bail out.

I wear a Nomex flight suit in the winter because it gets cold here.
When I had to buy a suit, I decided I might as well buy a Nomex suit.
But I don't think it is a good idea to require that.  We have to ask
our selves, is it really going to help before we ask for new

How many injuries did we have that were aerobatics specific, that
happened during startup or taxi?  Yes, these accidents do happen, but
they are not specific to us.  If you want to prevent them, you would
have to require Nomex suits and fire extinguishers for everybody in
general aviation.

Looking back at the accidents and trying to figure out what could have
prevented the fatal outcome in the aerobatics specific accidents gives
you something to think about I believe.  Sometimes the answer is that
nothing could have prevented the outcome (like in Rick's case).  I
can't recall an accident where a fire extinguisher would have changed
the outcome.  But in quite a few cases there was something that could
have prevented the accident: Being more cautious, more conservative
and safety minded in our flying!  I know of several accidents that
were caused by hot-rodding, flying too low during practice, etc.  I
think this is what we have to worry about.  This was addressed in a
couple of message before.  We need to figure out how we can improve
the safety consciousness of our flying.  In not one of these cases
would any of the suggested equipment made a difference, only
preventing the accident in the first place would help.

The whole country is up in arms about the government interfering too
much with our lives and here we are thinking about doing the same that
we accuse the FAA of all the time: A knee-jerk reaction to an
accident.  Lets think about what will really help our safety record,
lets look into statistics and try to find the real causes of
fatalities, and then figure out what will really help to prevent them.
I personally think it is more safety training, peer pressure if
necessary to prevent our fellow aerobatics pilots from flying



© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn