Using shoulder harnesses on aircraft

Pilots, using a shoulder harness could save your life and the lives of your passengers. Shoulder harnesses are your best insurance policy in case of an accident.

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Wearing a shoulder harness prevents injury

One-third of general aviation accidents that should have been survivable end in death because pilots or passengers didn’t wear a shoulder harness. These accidents are usually caused by a loss of power, and happen most often during take-off or landing. In many cases, it’s not the force of impact that causes death. Fatalities are caused by people colliding with an instrument panel or other parts of the cabin.

The simple use of a shoulder harness, along with a lap belt, can greatly reduce this risk.

Most people agree that lap belts are important during take-off, landing and turbulence. But shoulder harnesses are equally important. Remember, wearing one is your best protection against injury.

Use shoulder harnesses in your aircraft

If your aircraft doesn’t have shoulder harnesses, get them installed as soon as possible. This is just as important as being airworthy.

Follow these tips for how to maintain your aircraft’s harnesses:

  • Inspect them for wear regularly, and make sure they’re working properly
  • Regularly check the fabric of the belts, especially where they contact the metal guides and locking mechanisms
  • Forward the assembly to the manufacturer for repairs at the first hint of tear or a frayed section: any damage will reduce the harnesses’ strength and could cause serious injury

For more about the use of safety belts and shoulder harnesses, read Advisory Circular (AC) No. 605-004.

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