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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

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