Generic Aircraft Airbag Restraints Under Development By AmSafe
Since 2004, AmSafe has been providing airbag seatbelt restraint to general aviation customers. Their devices have been standard equipment on Cessna Single Engine and Cirrus SR20/22 since 2005. They have also been offered as standard equipment on Diamond DA-40/42, Mooney and Air Tractor aircraft for many years.
The company has an Approved Model List (AML) STC which covers a large number of the general aviation population of aircraft. Each of these airbag kits is designed and customized to support these applications and we have had many successful airbag deployments providing significant safety protection, while mitigating serious injury or worse in many instances.
AmSafe has recently coordinated with the FAA (Alaska ACO and SAD) to develop a generic airbag kit which would be installed via Form 337 requirements, that will be adjustable upon installation for generic compatibility to support a current 2-point or 3-point seatbelt system with a safety-enhancing aftermarket replacement. Prototypes have already been developed, and were demonstrated last week to the FAA at our facility. The company as been supported and encouraged beyond our expectations by the authorities while accomplishing this development.
The FAA has committed to helping AmSafe move this through the process based on the new Part 23 Rules as an example of how their rule changes can be utilized to upgrade the current general aviation aircraft population. This kit, will include NexGen system components based on the 100,000 plus seats with airbags installed in commercial aircraft, so it is updated versus the current STC applications for GA. System diagnostics would not include the need for a separate diagnostic tool, so during the annual inspection only a visual as defined in the CMM and the diagnostic would be accomplished via PTT only via the Electronic Module Assy (EMA). The airbag system is not connected to aircraft power and the EMA and inflators used to deploy the airbag both have a 10 year life limit before replacement is required.
AmSafe has a target date of introduction as Sun n’ Fun ’18, with a goal of a rollout price in the $2500 range for a 2 seat kit. There would be no custom colors, cable lengths or other options. One kit, no variances, universally applicable for all non-FAR 23.562 aircraft, to include experimental.
“I feel very strongly that there is a great need to provide this safety enhancement as often and as inexpensive as possible for the older aircraft, and experimental aviation community,” said James Crupi, Business Development & Technical Support manager in an email to Aero-News.