Title: Operational functionality test of offshore helicopter seat harness in wet and dry conditions

Authors: Michael J. Taber; Dylan Sanchez; David Haas McMillan

Addresses: Research and Development Division, Falck Safety Services Canada (NL) Inc., 35 Beclin Rd., Mount Pearl, A1N 5G4, Canada ' Training Division, Falck Safety Services Canada (LA), 23260 Shell Lane, Robert, LA, 70455, USA ' Training Division, Falck Safety Services Canada (LA), 23260 Shell Lane, Robert, LA, 70455, USA

Abstract: Testing of offshore helicopter seat harnesses (S76, S92, and AW 139) was completed in realistic conditions to identify possible differences between underwater egress training harnesses and those used in actual helicopters. A weighted manikin (210 lb) was used in 24 dry trials, and five qualified instructors completed 34 underwater egress trials. Of the 58 trials, there were no (0%) release mechanism malfunctions. There were five trials (9%) in which the harness release mechanism did not fully disengage on the first attempt; however all five cases (100%) resulted when the harnesses were not fully tightened correctly or when the legs of the manikin created excessive friction against the release mechanism. Results clearly showed that even in the most extreme situation (90° unbalanced load of 210 lb), the harnesses were capable of opening with only minimal force. It is recommended, however, that individuals fully tighten their seat harness prior to critical phases of flight.

Keywords: underwater egress training; helicopter seat harnesses; physical fidelity; observational analysis; operational functionality; offshore helicopters; wet conditions; dry conditions; seat harness testing; release mechanism; harness tightening.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2015.073009

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2015 Vol.3 No.3/4, pp.363 - 375

Received: 15 May 2015
Accepted: 24 Jul 2015

Published online: 11 Nov 2015 *

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