Taber, M. J. (2013). Crash attenuating seats: Effects on helicopter underwater escape performance. Safety Science, 57, 179-186.
A b s t r a c t
Surviving a helicopter ditching at sea involves a number of factors; however, none have as great an influence
as impact forces. To minimize this influence, crash attenuating seat systems have recently been integrated
into offshore transport helicopters. Unfortunately, no research has investigated the systemʼs effect
on underwater egress. This study outlines the first known examination of the crash attenuating seats
from the perspective of passenger egress. Results indicate that egressing from an inverted and flooded
helicopter requires significantly more time, and is rated as being more difficult when the seat is fully
attenuated (stroked). Results also indicate that egress is significantly influenced by environmental conditions
and the position of a helicopter simulator. Based on these findings, it is recommended that all offshore
personnel be trained to overcome the influence of attenuating seats, environmental conditions, and
position of the helicopter during their occupationally required egress training course.
Keywords: Ditching; Egress; Drowning; Offshore; Impact forces