Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-10-078
Details
Synopsis: On January 15, 2009, about 1527 eastern standard time,1 US Airways flight 1549, an Airbus Industrie A320-214, N106US, experienced an almost total loss of thrust in both engines after encountering a flock of birds and was subsequently ditched on the Hudson River about 8.5 miles from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), New York City, New York. The flight was en route to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Charlotte, North Carolina, and had departed LGA about 2 minutes before the in-flight event occurred. The 150 passengers, including a lap-held child, and 5 crewmembers evacuated the airplane via the forward and overwing exits. One flight attendant and four passengers received serious injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The scheduled, domestic passenger flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Conduct research to determine the most beneficial passenger brace position in airplanes with nonbreakover seats installed. If the research deems it necessary, issue new guidance material on passenger brace positions.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Weehawken, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA09MA026
Accident Reports: Loss of Thrust in Both Engines, US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus Industrie A320-214, N106US
Report #: AAR-10-03
Accident Date: 1/15/2009
Issue Date: 5/21/2010
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/20/2014
Response: We reviewed a copy of “Effect of Passenger Position on Crash Injury Risk in Transport Category Aircraft” by Amanda Taylor of the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), which was presented on December 3, 2013, at the Seventh Triennial International Fire & Cabin Safety Research Conference. We believe that the research described is comprehensive and well-designed, and we are encouraged that it suggests revisions are needed for guidance provided to passengers regarding brace-for-impact positions. Pending your development and issuance of revised guidance based on the CAMI research, Safety Recommendation A-10-78 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/8/2014
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration reported its passenger brace position research findings at the Triennial International Aircraft Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference in December 2013. The research findings are available at the following Web site: http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/2013Conference/files/Restraint_Systems/TaylorBrace/TaylorEffectofPassengerPositionPres.pptx. The results of this research are being evaluated to determine if a revision to the current brace position guidance is warranted. If so, then new guidance will be developed, validated, and published. I will keep the Board informed of our progress on this recommendation and provide a response by August 31, 2015.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/4/2013
Response: We read with great interest the results of the research conducted to date at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). We look forward to reviewing both the results of the research that the FAA is currently conducting to determine the most beneficial passenger brace position and, based on the results of the research and analysis, any revisions made to the guidance on brace position. Pending completion of these efforts, Safety Recommendation A-10-78 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/5/2013
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) conducted the recommended research in conjunction with another funded research program that has similar test configurations. This combined program consisted of 19 double row tests that evaluated the occupant's response when parameters such as seat back folding stiffness, occupant position, belt configuration, interior wall location, and occupant stature were varied. We found that arm and leg placement can affect the head and leg injury risk for an occupant that is braced against the seat back in front. Placing the hands at the sides of the legs resulted in a lower head injury risk than placing them on the seat back, as shown in some current brace position guidance. Placing the feet as far aft as possible reduced leg injury risk by controlling forward flailing. These trends were noted in both breakover and nonbreakover seat back types. The safety implications of these results are significant and warrant further investigation. CAMI plans to conduct further analysis of the results and prepare a report for presentation at the Triennial International Aircraft Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference in December 2013. Further research is planned to validate specific recommendations for new brace position guidance based on these results. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this recommendation and I will provide an update by September 30, 2014.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/18/2012
Response: We appreciate receiving your explanation of the FAA’s decision to conduct brace position research in conjunction with another research project that requires similar testing configurations. Although we are disappointed in the delay, we believe that the FAA’s research to determine the most beneficial passenger brace position in airplanes that are equipped with nonbreakover seats will help prevent future passenger injuries. We look forward to reviewing your research findings in June 2013. Pending completion of your research and the development and publication of any necessary guidance associated with this project, Safety Recommendation A-10-78 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/27/2012
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is extending brace position research in conjunction with another funded research program. Previous Civil Aerospace Medical Institute brace position tests were reviewed to determine the appropriate test methods for future assessments. We found that double row test configurations selected to evaluate brace positions are very similar to the configurations needed for the "Prevention of Injuries that Impede Egress" planned research project. Therefore, conducting the tests and analysis for both projects simultaneously is a more efficient use of resources. However, longer than expected lead times to acquire the instrumentation necessary to conduct both projects delayed testing from the original projections. If needed, the development and publication of guidance material will be based on research findings. Research including testing and modeling will be ongoing through 2012 and early 2013, with a completed report provided by June 30, 2013. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this recommendation and I will provide an update by September 30, 2013.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/6/2012
Response: We look forward to reviewing both the results of the research that the FAA is currently conducting to determine the most beneficial passenger brace position in airplanes with nonbreakover seats installed and the revised guidance the FAA plans to develop and publish based on this research. Pending completion of the research and the revision and publication of the guidance, Safety Recommendation A-10-78 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/4/2012
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently conducting research to determine the most beneficial passenger brace position in airplanes with nonbreakover seats installed. We anticipate completing the recommended research and publishing the findings by June 30, 2012. Based on our research findings, we will develop and publish guidance material. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this recommendation, and I will provide an update by September 30, 2012.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/17/2011
Response: Staff from the NTSB recently attended the FAA-sponsored Sixth Triennial International Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 25-28, 2010. During one of the sessions of this conference, Mr. Martin Sperber of TUV Rheinland Group in Germany presented a paper, titled "Protective Brace/Safety Positions for Passengers and Cabin and Cockpit Crew in Emergency Landing Conditions or Aborted Take-Off." This paper examined some of the issues identified in Safety Recommendation A-10-78. The NTSB awaits details of the FAA's planned research and the completion of appropriate actions in response to the research findings. Pending completion of such actions, Safety Recommendation A-10-78 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/2010
Response: CC# 201000368: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: We are evaluating this recommendation to determine the best approach to take to address the Board's intent.