Phoenix-based Simula has been awarded a $11.1 million contract for 490 front and side cockpit airbag shipsets for U.S. Army UH-60A/L Black Hawk helicopters. Dubbed cockpit airbag systems (CABS), the shipsets consist of airbags sited in front of and beside cockpit aircrew, with the side-mounted bag attached to whichever fuselage wall is closer. An accelerometer triggers the system when it senses a crash.
Most aviators feel pretty secure when ensconced in that expensive, fleece-covered, form-fitted cockpit seat, their bodies held firmly in place by a five-point harness. However, research has shown just how vulnerable the human body is to the severe trauma found in many aircraft crashes. And that susceptibility is leading toward some remarkable new restraint technology for helicopter pilots and, perhaps later, airplane pilots.