It is argued that together with improved protection structures and energy dissipation systems, a favourable pilot position with sufficient support and restraint could reduce fatalities in aviation accidents. In this document the crash response of three different pilot positions are compared to justify the proposal of supporting a pilot in the rather unusual prone position. The normal seated and supine pilot positions have already been adopted and implemented in various aircraft. The occupant’s response to specified crash scenarios in these two positions was compared to that of a pilot in the prone position. To obtain the best prone pilot support configuration, different concepts were considered during the analysis. A dynamic event simulation program called ADAMS was used to perform the analysis and existing injury criteria and a study of common causes of aviation fatalities and human body tolerance limits were used to compare the results. Additionally, methods to improve survivability of a pilot in the prone position during likely accidents were investigated with ADAMS. Concepts for the Exulans fuselage layout and energy absorption systems were proposed and recommendations for the pilot support system were derived from the results.
Dissertation (MEng (Aeronautical Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2006.