Impact biomechanics of the pelvis and lower limbs in occupants involved in an impact aircraft accident
Impact biomechanics of the pelvis and lower limbs in occupants involved in an aircraft accident have been investigated using a variety of techniques. These techniques have been used to: 1) Explore whether the position adopted by the occupant of the plane at the time of impact had implications for the pelvic and lower limb injuries sustained. 2) Test and assess the relevance of hypothesised injury mechanisms for the pelvis and lower limbs, described in the automobile industry to that of an impact aircraft accident. Clinical data has been derived from a cohort-of accident victims on board Boeing 737-400, G-OBME, when it crashed-on the M1 motorway on the 8 January, 1989. Experimental impact testing has been carried out using anthropomorphic test devices and a deceleration sled test facility. Further investigation of the impact biomechanics has utilised new techniques of impact occupant modelling with the aid of computer simulations. The results have indicated that in areas of the aircraft where seating and restraint mechanisms remained intact and fuselage disruption was minimal, severe lower limb and pelvic injuries were sustained by the occupants. These injuries may have been sustained in the absence of significant secondary impacts of the lower limbs with the seat in front. Further experiments have indicated that the position adopted by the occupants, and in particular the placement of the lower limbs on the floor can affect the trajectories of the limbs in their flail behaviour. In addition it is apparent that the knee-femur-pelvis mechanism of lower limb injury recognised by the automobile industry may not have been an important mechanism in this aviation situation. These findings have implications for the design of occupant safety systems if pelvic and lower limb injuries are to be reduced in future aircraft accidents.