AmSafe, manufacturer of passenger and crew restraint systems for corporate and GA aircraft, arrives at NBAA on the heels of July’s FAA approval of its state-of-the-art restraint system (SOARS) STC covering retrofit installations on 541 models of GA aircraft.
The universal seatbelt system is available in two- and three-point harnesses, with protection provided by a lap belt airbag that deploys within 50 milliseconds after detecting longitudinal deceleration of 9gs lasting consistently for 40 to 50 milliseconds. SOARS can be installed on Part 23 (excluding Part 23.562) aircraft and as a retrofit on experimental aircraft now using two- and three-point harnesses, according to Jim Crupi, business development and technical support manager at AmSafe (Booth 1973). Introduced at Florida’s Sun ’n‘ Fun fly-in in April, the universal restraint system has an introductory price of $2,580.
As a universal system, SOARS is not customizable by color or cable length, as are the model-specific restraints made by the Phoenix, Arizona company. The kit comes with a body block to ensure proper alignment and installation, and an electronic module that performs self-diagnostics. An A&P can install the restraint system, and paperwork consists of completing an FAA Form 337 (not required for installation on experimental aircraft).
AmSafe airbag seat belts have also been installed in AOPA’s Sweepstakes Super Cub, the latest annual aircraft giveaway from the GA pilots' organization. Airbags deploy from each of the restraint’s two shoulder harnesses. The electronics module assembly containing the system’s electronics and power is mounted in the fuselage. “Hard landings, vibration, or turbulence” won’t trip and deploy the system, according to AmSafe. Immediately after deployment, the airbag will deflate to ease egress from the seat belt and aircraft.
AmSafe restraints come standard on some new aircraft, including Cessna singles and the Cirrus, Diamond, and Mooney brands. Having electronics, power, and an inflator mechanism, the restraint systems require maintenance. An annual inspection and functional testing are among the mandated servicing requirements, and some components must be returned to the factory for refurbishment, and ultimately disposal.
AmSafe also makes TSO-C114 traditional business jet seatbelt restraints for forward- and aft-facing passenger seats, side-facing divans, attendant seats, and berthing or sleeper seats for Boeing Business Jets, Bombardier Aerospace, Cessna Citation, Dassault Falcon Jet, Gulfstream Aerospace and Hawker Beechcraft models. Buckle choices for the business jet restraints include teardrop, classic square, and push button, with more than 150 webbing colors and multiple hardware plating possibilities.