Today's story about the Qantas A330 incident shows the importance of wearing seatbelts. In all honesty when the aircraft is in the air, i take mine off as nobody wants to be restricted, especially on long haul.
But maybe a more forceful message should be given to make people aware of the consequences while in the air, rather than with the safety brief before the aircraft takes off.
Maybe we should even make it law that while seated people must have their seatbelt on?
What do you think?
AirSpace - more than just hot air
If I'm in my seat I'm wearing my seatbelt. I honestly don't think there's an excuse for not wearing one - it doesn't have to be skintight across your lap, just tight enough to stop you coming out of your seat (And more importantly, coming back down onto me in the next seat over) in a sudden loss of altitude.
The best bet would be to fill a plane with crash test dummies and deliberately hit turbulence, film them all flying out of their seats and show it during the safety briefing; people might pay a bit more attention then.
My wings are like a shield of steel.
Yes, I concur absolutely that seated passengers must wear a belt loosely, the CAA should mandate it and the cabin crew must do their best to ensure compliance. But you still have the situation of many passengers having to get to toilets, particularly later during a flight. You also have those heavy trolleys of course. You have taller pax. that are cramped into just too small a space that really must be able to get some exercise during a long sector. The Jet Stream routes are well known on any day and can readily be seen on satellite images. The captain really must turn on the seat belt sign well prior to approaching a suspect area and verbally warn pax and cabin crew. I am sure most do. I do recall well just how many Aussie pax like to wander about to have a chat and a jolly ale with other people they know on a flight. CAT is very serious, is a very old hazard and is particularly well known to QANTAS pilots who live with it most of the time. Which makes this bad event rather surprising.
Whilst clear air turbulence (CAT) may have been involved, it is possible that a flight control "computer" command may have pitched the aircraft suddenly nose down. The "Mayday" transmission tends to indicate that this may not have been a typical case of a CAT penetration. The Emergency call may also indicate that the pilots were harbouring a degree of uncertainty as to whether a further computer anomaly was possible? One sensible-sounding male passenger, when interviewed, stated that the descent was very sudden and was sustained for perhaps 12 seconds. For whatever primary and/or secondary cause, the aircraft seems to have been out of control for at least a period. A spokesperson said that he believed the pilots had noted some warning indicator and were addressing it per a checklist when the pitch-down occurred.
Just going by media reports, and brief interim statements from investigators who have taken custody of the aircraft's flight data recorders, it is looking like the problem may have been a system failure. Interesting though how long it took the pilots to gain manual control of the aeroplane; and I mean no adverse reflection on the crew whatsoever...let's be quite clear on that point! In QANTAS's press releases, I read the oft-repeated statement that QANTAS have never had an accident in which a fatality occurred. But something way back in my memory bank keeps niggling away to the possibility that they may have had a fatal accident when they were operating within the post-war mandated Territory of Papua New Guinea?? Does anyone recall such an event? The Aussie designed DHA tri-engined Drover comes to mind...albeit hazily.
The QANTAS 'no-fatality' myth seems to have come about due to the movie 'Rain Man' in which Dustin Hoffman's autistic character refuses to fly on any airline except QANTAS because they've 'never crashed'. My understanding is that they've never actually had a fatality in or written off a jetliner, whereas if you were to say 'airliner' it's an entirely diffrent matter.
I can't speak as to a Drover but I know they wrote off a Super Constellation in the late fifties/early sixties as well as some Shorts flying boats and some Avro Lancastrians.
Some pretty graphic images from the incident have turned up on an Australian news website