Title: Injury biomechanics in aircraft crash-landing reconstruction

Authors: Geoffrey T. Desmoulin; Theodore E. Milner; Marc-André Nolette; Kevin G. Bird; Elvis Cepuš

Addresses: GTD Scientific Inc., 2037 MacKay Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V7P 2M8, Canada ' GTD Scientific Inc., 2037 MacKay Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V7P 2M8, Canada ' GTD Scientific Inc., 2037 MacKay Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V7P 2M8, Canada ' GTD Scientific Inc., 2037 MacKay Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V7P 2M8, Canada ' R J Waldron and Company, 110 – 5920 Number 2 Road, Richmond, BC, V7C 4R9, Canada

Abstract: Despite significant progress in aircraft crashworthiness, unexpected and oddly serious injuries are sometimes seen in otherwise survivable incidents. In one such case, a small fixed-wing aircraft crash-landed on a sand bar before flipping onto its roof, causing a spinal cord injury to one of four occupants while others only suffered minor injuries. An injury biomechanics investigation revealed that the L1 wedge fracture suffered by the victim was associated with axial compression combined with anterior flexion of the spine which would likely have been caused by the plane's flipping motion. Calculations revealed that these stresses would only have been present at the end of the flip when the plane landed on its wing and the victim impacted the ceiling of the aircraft upon the failure of his seatbelt. Further inspection then revealed a flaw in the seatbelt's attachment which may have caused it to come undone during the landing.

Keywords: injury biomechanics; fixed-wing aircraft; crashworthiness; seatbelt; forensics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFE.2021.10040671

International Journal of Forensic Engineering, 2021 Vol.5 No.1, pp.72 - 85

Received: 02 Mar 2020
Accepted: 09 Nov 2020

Published online: 03 Sep 2021 *

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