Air bags for small planes being considered - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Air bags for small planes being considered


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- It could be a new day for the future of flying small planes. Due to the rise in small plane accidents, federal safety officials are considering whether they should be equipped with air bags and shoulder harness seatbelts.

Officials say the life-saving technology has benefited motorists for decades. The National Transportation Safety Board is set to release a study on Tuesday of 138 accidents involving planes equipped with air bags.

The report is expected to highlight several cases in which air bags were critical to the survival of the pilot or passengers. There were 474 people killed in 1,474 general aviation accidents in 2009, the latest year for which NTSB figures are available. That includes all planes except scheduled airlines and military aircraft.

Air bags have been required in cars since the mid-1990s, and shoulder harness seatbelts even longer -- but not in small planes.

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