1. Post #1
    More than six decades ago, when the federal standards on the strength of airplane seats and seat belts were written, government regulations specified that seats be designed for a passenger weight of 170 pounds. But now the average American man weighs nearly 194 pounds and the average woman 165.

    Now, some engineers and scientists have raised questions about whether airplane seats, tested with crash dummies that reflect the 170-pound rule, are strong enough to protect heavy travelers.

    “If a heavier person completely fills a seat, the seat is not likely to behave as intended during a crash,” said Robert Salzar, the principal scientist at the Center for Applied Biomechanics at the University of Virginia. “The energy absorption that is built into the aircraft seat is likely to be overwhelmed and the occupants will not be protected optimally.”

    Nor would the injury necessarily be confined to that passenger, Dr. Salzar said. If seats collapse or belts fail, he said, those seated nearby could be endangered from “the unrestrained motion of the passenger.”

    Yoshihiro Ozawa, an engineer whose company, Jasti Ltd. in Japan, has been making crash dummies for 20 years, raised similar concerns. He said he worried that there was no data proving that “seats and seat belts are safe enough” for larger passengers.

    “If we don’t test with heavier dummies, we won’t know if it is safe enough,” Mr. Ozawa said by telephone, through an interpreter. “There is no regulation that says they have to test for heavier.”

    Executives with two American airline-seat manufacturers declined to comment on the issue. Dede Potter, a spokeswoman for one of those manufacturers, B/E Aerospace, said only, “We comply with all industry regulations.”

    In 2005, as a result of a crash, the F.A.A. updated the average passenger weights used in calculating each flight’s total weight and balance. Men’s weight was raised by 25 pounds to 200 and women’s by 34 pounds to 179. (That is the summer calculation; it is higher in the winter when travelers are wearing heavier clothes.)

    The size of the seats is not a function of passenger weight but a legacy of airplane design from a generation ago, said Vern Alg, a former airline executive who is now a private consultant. “The restriction is the dimension, the width of the aircraft,” he said. “With Boeing narrow bodies, for example, if they are going to have six seats across, they can only be 17.1 inches wide.”

    Strength and size are not the only factors affecting safety when the passenger is overweight. Use of the seat belt can also be a problem for these travelers. The F.A.A. recommends wearing seat belts throughout the flight, though use is required only for takeoffs and landings.

    Dietrich Jehle, a professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo who conducted a study of more than 300,000 serious automobile accidents, said that very overweight drivers faced an increased risk of death in a severe crash and that they were 67 percent less likely to be wearing seat belts, possibly for reasons of comfort.

    Dr. Jehle said obese air travelers may also be less likely to wear seat belts. Unbelted passengers are at risk of injury and can be a mechanism for injury to others, Dr. Jehle said. “Force is mass times acceleration, and when someone is heavier and unbelted, there’s that much force that is being applied.”

    He said both airlines and car companies needed to address the unique challenges of protecting overweight people. “Since a third of the population is obese, we need to be doing some of our crash testing with obese dummies,” he said.

    Dr. Salzar said seat belts should also be tested to ensure that they could restrain heavier individuals. “You’d be amazed at how the large person blasts through that restraint,” he said.

    In airplane economy seats, Mr. Ozawa said the proximity to other passengers created a higher likelihood that the heavier passenger would become a hazard by colliding with those sitting nearby. The back of the seats may not be strong enough and the spaces between seats wide enough to protect passengers from the impact of heavier passengers behind or beside them, he said.

    AmSafe, an Arizona company that is one of the biggest manufacturers of airliner seat belts, air bags and child restraints, declined requests for comment.

    The National Transportation Safety Board did recommend last year that the F.A.A. begin collecting information about the size and weight of people flying in private planes to determine if testing accurately predicted the effectiveness of seat restraints for a range of people from the 5-foot, 110-pound woman to the 6-foot-2, 223-pound man.

    The safety board’s action was prompted by an accident in which a private pilot’s large belly prevented the inflation of an air-bag-equipped seat belt. The board has not addressed the issue on commercial airplanes because it has not had any accidents in which investigators thought a passenger’s weight was a factor in being able to escape after a crash.

    Nora Marshall, a senior adviser for human performance and survival factors at the safety board, said, “I think theoretically it could have an impact,” but added that the investigators had not seen any accidents in which the weight of a passenger was a problem.

    So far, much of the attention on air travel by large passengers has been on whether they need to buy two seats.

    Brandon Macsata, executive director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights and a member of the advisory board for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, who helped write a traveler’s guide for heavy passengers, said that if airlines addressed the growing girth of travelers, all passengers would benefit.

    “Airlines are not in concert with reality,” he said. Some advocates for plus-size travelers are lobbying to have obesity considered a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act. But Lex Frieden, professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, said airlines were already responsible for ensuring the safety of all their passengers.

    Still, equal safety is not the same as equal comfort.

    “As airlines try to downsize seating to accommodate more people, to lower prices and maintain profitability, airlines are going to sacrifice everyone’s comfort. People in coach aren’t as comfortable as they were 10 to 15 years ago,” Mr. Frieden said.

    While passengers focus primarily on comfort, a 2001 safety board study of airline accidents showed that improvement in safety design was having a positive effect. In 568 accidents over 17 years, 95 percent of the passengers lived.

    “Most accidents we investigate are survivable,” Ms. Marshall said. “There is the misperception among the public that the things you do to protect yourself are meaningless because there’s nothing you can do. That’s not true.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/bu...ewanted=1&_r=3
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  2. Post #2
    Proudly supporting the JIDF
    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Maybe they should start making different planes for thin people and fat people.
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  3. Post #3
    $1 title pls
    DienDwemar's Avatar
    June 2007
    1,621 Posts
    Hurley was ok, I saw it on lost.
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  4. Post #4
    Dennab
    February 2012
    2,299 Posts
    Maybe they should start making different planes for thin people and fat people.
    Dont bother with seats, the average gelatinous american will shape to fit its container.
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  5. Post #5
    SwissArmyKnife's Avatar
    December 2009
    1,498 Posts
    Honestly if you're crashing in an airplane I don't think there's much they can do to keep you safe short of putting you in a Speed Raceresque protective bubble.
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  6. Post #6
    2014 SH Pun Award Nominee
    Awesomecaek's Avatar
    January 2009
    20,928 Posts
    Honestly if you're crashing in an airplane I don't think there's much they can do to keep you safe short of putting you in a Speed Raceresque protective bubble.
    This.

    There are rarely survivors in aircraft crashes and if you survive, it's quite possibly not because your seat "protected you" but because you had a massive luck.
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  7. Post #7
    Glod Member
    ZombieDawgs's Avatar
    March 2009
    9,838 Posts
    Maybe they should start making different planes for thin people and fat people.
    They're call C-130s but they're so far military only
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  8. Post #8
    Gold Member
    Penguin-Man's Avatar
    June 2008
    2,365 Posts
    Honestly if you're crashing in an airplane I don't think there's much they can do to keep you safe short of putting you in a Speed Raceresque protective bubble.
    There's a lot more that can happen to a plane besides a straight up crash that could cause injuries.

    Anyways, just introduce some attachable seat belts designed to restrain overweight passengers and an attachable brace/support apparatus for the seats.

  9. Post #9
    Jsm
    "Belgium is pretty much a non-country"
    Jsm's Avatar
    June 2006
    7,907 Posts
    Slightly OT but...

    "National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance"

    Seriously?! Don't accept it, fucking deal with it.
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  10. Post #10
    HighOnSinz's Avatar
    October 2007
    209 Posts
    Slightly OT but...

    "National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance"

    Seriously?! Don't accept it, fucking deal with it.
    It is much more realistic to get people to accept that there is a problem with fatter people these days and different measures and attitudes are required now than to expect millions of people to just recover from obesity.
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  11. Post #11
    President of the Westboro Baptist Church Fan Club
    Dennab
    February 2012
    2,084 Posts
    What the hell? Why do they only test them for 170 pound people? That's very light.
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  12. Post #12
    yannickgd's Avatar
    December 2009
    2,161 Posts
    How much is that in Kg?

  13. Post #13
    Jsm
    "Belgium is pretty much a non-country"
    Jsm's Avatar
    June 2006
    7,907 Posts
    How much is that in Kg?
    77ish.
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  14. Post #14
    100% Homemade
    ZestyLemons's Avatar
    September 2007
    8,297 Posts
    I'm not even fat, I'm just 6'3" and I'm more than 170 pounds by height.

    Then again, planes were designed for people 6' and under :(
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  15. Post #15
    Terminutter's Avatar
    June 2010
    6,196 Posts
    Brandon Macsata, executive director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights and a member of the advisory board for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, who helped write a traveler’s guide for heavy passengers, said that if airlines addressed the growing girth of travelers, all passengers would benefit.
    The vast majority of passangers would suffer as the airlines would have to remove seats to fit special large seats for fat people. This means that prices will go up, as there are fewer seats available.

  16. Post #16
    Dennab
    April 2010
    5,256 Posts
    Fat people should be forced to pay for a military airlift operation
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  17. Post #17
    Gold Member
    luverofJ!93's Avatar
    August 2007
    1,342 Posts
    170 lbs. is not much at all. 6'4 here and 190lbs. Of course my height screws me over in planes no matter how much i weigh.
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  18. Post #18
    I'm sure it's hard to be fat.
    And I'm sure it's almost impossible to train into shape again.
    But if we start saying "oh it's ok to be fat, let's adapt everything for them" then we're sending the wrong message and slowly but surely moving into the world of Wall-E.
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  19. Post #19
    Dennab
    April 2010
    5,256 Posts
    I'm sure it's hard to be fat.
    And I'm sure it's almost impossible to train into shape again.
    .
    No.

    Contrary to the desperate arguments of a couple of fatties on here, the vast majority of fat people are fat by their own fault.

    And plenty of fat people have lost amazing amounts of weight through exercise and adopting better habits.

    It's still amusing to me how it's only fat people who think they are somehow exempt from the law of thermodynamics. What's next, defying gravity?
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  20. Post #20
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  21. Post #21
    zombays's Avatar
    October 2010
    2,035 Posts
    Being morbidly obese shouldn't be acceptable, IMO, because honestly, it's disgusting as hell. Anyways, I think they should just make fat people pay triple and board cargo planes.
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  22. Post #22
    My sister's fat though, but that's because she has CFS.
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  23. Post #23
    the average American man weighs nearly 194 pounds
    what the fuck
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  24. Post #24
    dunkace's Avatar
    May 2012
    638 Posts
    guess we should start trading out 747's for cargo planes.

  25. Post #25
    BigOwl's Avatar
    October 2010
    3,292 Posts
    what the fuck
    That's actually not that bad. I'm 5,8 and the Req's for our military at that height are 180 lbs
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  26. Post #26
    what the fuck
    I'm 194 pounds but I'm 6 feet 2.8 inches (88 kgs / 190 cm)
    So I'm still in good build and average BMI, and it depends on your muscles too.
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  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    borisvdb's Avatar
    July 2007
    2,337 Posts
    They should stop and tell those fatties at the boarding gate "Only one carry-on sir.".

  28. Post #28
    HAND.CAT
    barttool's Avatar
    July 2010
    4,589 Posts
    It isn't safe to live if you're fat.

  29. Post #29
    Oh god what. I am 185 cm and 84 kg and it is fucking normal, it all depends on your muscle mass.
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  30. Post #30
    Gold Member
    joost1120's Avatar
    February 2008
    10,254 Posts
    I'm 5'6 and weigh only 121 pounds...
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  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    [CWG]RustySpannerz's Avatar
    February 2009
    2,048 Posts
    Well, I'm screwed. 6'4" and 282 pounds. However, 170 pounds is ridiculously light for any male over 6'.
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  32. Post #32
    gooldude's Avatar
    August 2010
    114 Posts
    6' and I'm 130 pounds. The fuck
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  33. Post #33
    Gold Member
    RoflKawpter's Avatar
    December 2007
    2,562 Posts
    Jesus. That's a bit lenient on the testing for the seats...

    Oh god what. I am 185 cm and 84 kg and it is fucking normal, it all depends on your muscle mass.
    This.

    I'm 6'2" 275 lbs, and it's pretty much all muscle mass.

    granted I could stand to lose a few pounds but hey, I want my ass to be safe!
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  34. Post #34
    Gold Member
    Matriax's Avatar
    November 2006
    699 Posts
    Really? I'd have assumed they'd me more protected. They've got built in pillows to absorb the impact.

  35. Post #35
    Kabstrac's Avatar
    April 2012
    3,340 Posts
    Jesus. That's a bit lenient on the testing for the seats...



    This.

    I'm 6'2" 275 lbs, and it's pretty much all muscle mass.

    granted I could stand to lose a few pounds but hey, I want my ass to be safe!
    Pretty much all muscle?! Arnold Schwarzenegger was only 230lbs at 6'2" in competition, and 260 off season, and he was "pretty much all muscle"
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  36. Post #36
    White Fusion will love him forever and ever~
    Rents's Avatar
    January 2012
    10,707 Posts
    Pretty much all muscle?! Arnold Schwarzenegger was only 230lbs at 6'2" in competition, and 260 off season, and he was "pretty much all muscle"
    He was literally all muscle, body builders dehydrate themselves and all kinds of shit for those shows.
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  37. Post #37
    Kabstrac's Avatar
    April 2012
    3,340 Posts
    He was literally all muscle, body builders dehydrate themselves and all kinds of shit for those shows.
    Read 260lbs off season, so that means not. The other guy is still saying he is about as heavy as Arnold, with maybe a little bit more fat.

  38. Post #38
    I am 6'1'' and 225 lbs, most of that being a mixture of fat and muscle. I would consider myself fat in the "could lose some pounds" sense and not the "spills into other seats" sense seeing as I have never spilled into another seat
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  39. Post #39
    Gold Member
    BrickInHead's Avatar
    March 2007
    17,019 Posts
    what the fuck
    that's not really that fat tbh

    you still look like a normal human being at that point
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  40. Post #40
    asdfghjkl;
    Funion's Avatar
    October 2008
    3,124 Posts
    hurry everyone post how much you weigh
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