August 13, 2013 | Kendall Creighton Just Plane Packed JetBlue herds more into planes with thinner seats and less legroom Surprises From Asiana Crash Investigation Tuesday, August 13, 2013 FlyersRights has written about this for years and it’s always one of the top three complaints in our polling. At the risk of preaching to the choir, it bears repeating; the FAA has zero minimum standards for legroom anywhere inside a commercial aircraft with the exception of the aisle width and exit row seat for egress in case of an emergency. For this reason, you won’t find any limitations for how close airlines can squeeze in seats. Since requiring more legroom would necessarily reduce the number of seats on the aircraft, such a requirement would impose a standard “relating to a price” under § 41713(b)(1), and is accordingly preempted by the ADA. Section 41713(b)(1) not only preempts the direct regulation of prices by states, but also preempts indirect regulation “relating to” prices that have “the forbidden significant effect” on such prices. Link Your chances of fatal deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increases after four hours of immobility according to the World Health Organization. JetBlue just announced it will cram seats closer together in coach to make room for new first-class cabins, thereby putting people at grave risk by squeezing every last inch of legroom in economy class. JetBlue was the last bastion with reasonable, affordable legroom and where someone could recline their seat without being in your lap. They were well-loved because they gave coach passengers more legroom than most airlines. You can check a given airline’s seat pitch on seatguru.com. Seat pitch refresher: from the same fixed point, from your seat back to the seat back of the seat in front, including the padding, magazine holders, tray table and so on. The NY Times writes about new rear-facing seats being employed in some new Business-class seating as a way to pack more seats into limited space. Pretty soon coach will just be an open, windowless area with hay on the floor. Moo. Safety Surprises from Asiana Crash Investigation San Francisco hospitals that dealt with the Asiana Airline injured reported an unusually high number of spinal injuries, the worst of which include crushed vertebrae and torn ligaments. FlyersRights hasraised the issue ofseat pitch lacking enough space for the “brace position” as indicated on the procedures card. We also raised several cabin safety issues like managing oversized bags and passengers attempting to take too many carry-on bags aboard, and what loads are the overhead bins designed for? According to Randy Scarlett, board director of the California Brain Injury Association, “there were significant spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries with the first wave of patients. More subtle concussions and spinal cord injuries were in the second wave of those patients coming to San Francisco General [Hospital].” Scarlett expects that while 80% will fully recover, “20% will be affected for a significant time in their lives.” Currently, the entire forward force of a crash is absorbed only by a lap strap. In modern cars the 3-point harnesses are standard, as are airbags. Why in aviation, where although accidents are a lot more rare, are we still using just a single strap? The result is that in many accidents, passengers survive the crash, but pelvic injuries (and lower limb injury caused by legs hitting the seat structure in front), prevent a successful unaided evacuation of the aircraft. Time to look at this again? Report: Safety Surprises From Asiana Crash Investigation Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology While NTSB investigators look closely into the actions of the flight crew for potential causes behind the July 6 Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER accident, safety experts working on the other side of the cockpit door are already learning valuable new design lessons for crash survivability. Although all but two of the 307 passengers and crew survived the ordeal, more than 180 were injured, several of them critically. Therefore, while looking into why the crash occurred in the first place, the investigation is focusing just as closely on why these injuries and deaths were sustained, and it has already unearthed troubling concerns about the functionality of the aircraft’s main exit escape slides. Video and eyewitness accounts testify to the violence of the aircraft’s brief passage along San Francisco International Airport’s Runway 28L before coming to an abrupt halt to the south side of the strip, adjacent to the touchdown zone markers some 1,500 ft. from the threshold. Although the aircraft did not cartwheel in the same devastating way as in the 1989 DC-10 crash in Sioux City, Iowa, it was massively damaged by an initial impact with the seawall and the displaced runway threshold, during which parts of the main landing gear and the entire empennage were ripped away. Traveling at over 100 mph, the aircraft departed the runway at the touchdown markers where it became partially airborne again, pirouetting in a complete 360-deg. circle around its nose section. During this high-speed ground loop, the aft end of the tailless fuselage momentarily pitched up at around 40 deg., causing passengers and crew in the back section of the cabin to fall vertically as much as 100 ft. when the aircraft came to a rest with its nose pointed back toward the runway. Despite this pummeling, the fuselage structure remained substantially intact with the extensively damaged wings appearing to have borne the brunt of the impact loads. Although the forward two-thirds of the fuselage was gutted by the post-crash fire, the overall structural integrity of the cabin section was not immediately compromised by the impact itself, with significant buckling only evident in two zones: forward of the wing root and aft by Section 47/48 where the empennage was broken off. The NTSB says the fire was caused by oil leaking from a ruptured tank onto the damaged remains of the No.2 (starboard) Pratt & Whitney PW4090 engine, which was ripped from its wing mountings and lay beside the fuselage. The left engine was detached during the initial ground roll and came to rest on the north side of the runway, just under 2,000 ft. from the threshold. While the fire makes it more difficult for investigators to assess the post-crash condition of the forward and mid-cabin sections, the intact aft cabin is yielding information about the survivability design aspects of seats, interior paneling, overhead bin structures, seat tracks, cabin floors, exits and escape slides. Images released by the NTSB of the aft cabin, close to the buckled section by Doors L4 and R4, show how the seating, cabin floor and ceiling in some areas, were significantly damaged and dislodged. Already weakened by the initial impact and loss of belly skin and structure below Section 47/48, the bulk of the aft cargo hold and lower lobe structure beneath the floor of the aft cabin appears to have been either ripped away by the slide along the runway or crushed by the vertical impact that ended the ground loop. Nevertheless, despite massive damage, investigators say the surprisingly small number of fatalities and relatively intact interior present a very survivable picture, with much of the internal trim, ceiling panels and sidewalls still in place. This is partly thought to be due to Boeing’s internal design concept, in which the tie rods supporting the arch of the secondary support structure (which holds the interior of the cabin ceiling panels and overhead bins to the fuselage monocoque) transfer loads above 46,000 lb. and withstand loads of up to 9g. Tie rods were built to absorb up and down loads, while truss-type sway bracing structure support the ceiling laterally. The seats are designed to meet the 16g crash load certification standard, while the seat tracks were originally designed to cope with stresses of 9g. However, San Francisco hospitals that dealt with the injured report an unusually high number of spinal injuries, the worst of which include crushed vertebrae and torn ligaments, testifying to the excessive lateral and vertical loads sustained during the accident. Although safety experts say assuming the crash position would have limited jolting to the spine, passengers appear to have received little or no warning of the impact. According to Randy Scarlett, board director of the California Brain Injury Association, “there were significant spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries with the first wave of patients. More subtle concussions and spinal cord injuries were in the second wave of those patients coming to San Francisco General [Hospital].” Scarlett expects that while 80% will fully recover, “20% will be affected for a significant time in their lives.” Sneaky Ryanair Ryanair cabin staff told to keep passengers’ change Ryanair sinks to new depths as staff have been told to increase the company’s profits by adopting a ‘no change’ policy. The advice is contained in a document called Ryanair Sales Tips, produced by Retail In Motion, a company calling itself an ‘in-flight retail specialist’. The handbook instructs flight attendants to tell passengers they have no change left when buying from the cart, according to Airnation.net. Cabin crew are encouraged to follow a ‘keep the change’ policy in a training document. It is suggested they mislead passengers by claiming to have ‘no change left’ when they sell food or drink. Under the heading ‘Have you tried these?’ the A4 document reads: ‘Keep the change! A simple and effective method to help boost your passenger spend count. ‘If you owe someone €2.00 advise that you are short of change right now, and can return the change at the end of the service. ‘Or ask them if you would like to purchase a scratchcard, or something to the value of €2.00. The airline’s controversial boss Michael O’Leary is renowned for his revenue-enhancing ideas that aim to increase turnover and lower costs. Read More: DailyMail Worst TSA Checkpoint? Last week we asked for your worst domestic TSA checkpoints. You did not disappoint. Here are some replies: Three way tie. LAX, OAK, and HOU (international transfer checkpoint). They are much slower than anywhere else I have been and treat passengers like prisoners….yelling and pointing what people need to do…very ineffective. I am amazed at the disparity between those three and all other airports. You would think they would have consultants who are experts in handling lines like any large amusement park such as Disney World and Universal Studios. They ought to have to meet performance metrics like everybody else who works and they ought to be publicly available for each airport to compare. My two cents. – M.B. Charleston, South Carolina….woefully understaffed for the number of flyers using the gates and the agents are worse than rude….they are hostile. I havewritten complaints to the TSA several times. Thankfully, my sibling is moving from there and I won’t be traveling there much longer. – tmt44gpn The worst checkpoint is SLC. – H.S. I used to say Grand Rapids, MI was bad but a certain TSA agent at Kalamazoo MI was over the top on two occasions last November and December. I have 2 trips coming up soon and if that agent is on duty I will loudly protest the humiliating screening I get because I have 2 hip replacements. I get a breast exam and my crouch felt three times. The first time flying after the first replacement I showed my card of my implant and the response I got was “anyone can get one of those cards” and my response was “do you want me to drop my drawers and show you my scar”. I am almost 75 years old and no way am I any kind of threat to anyone. Thank you for helping all of us enjoy flying again. – E.H. L.A. Airport is the worst domestic TSA checkpoint. – S.G. Dog vs. Machine in Enforcing Security Rover is cheaper and less invasive than body scanners. Dogs are exceptional at sensing explosives, do not require software upgrades, don’t depreciate with use and might even be able to detect bombs implanted under a person’s skin. In short, everything FlyersRights has voiced about dogs were said in a CBS Radio Charles Osgood piece yesterday. We were thrilled to hear this on the radio. “The billions spent on the TSA puffer machines and naked body scanners was a waste of taxpayer dollars” said Kate Hanni, FlyersRights’ founder. “Had they gone ‘to the dogs’ we would be safer.” “Osgood makes a great point in that a terrorist or someone with a bomb in their backpack is not going to stick around when they see a dog,” Kate said. Except dogs are missing the most important thing that body scanners have: Lobbyists. Quote of the Week: If air travel is so safe, why do they call it a ‘terminal’? George Carlin.