German government funds research to increase GA cabin safety

The German Ministry of Economic Affairs has granted funding for a research project that aims at developing a modular “SafetyBox” cabin safety system for light aircraft.

The new system will provide a safety cage around the occupants of an aircraft, supported by crash-optimized ergonomic designs and enhanced fire protection concepts.

The concept goes significantly beyond current aircraft designs, where the certification requirements ask for consideration of certain crash accelerations to the seat and restraint system, regardless of the capability and level of energy absorption of the surrounding fuselage cell.

With the new approach in this research program, the SafetyBox project team is optimizing the interaction of all the available elements in the early design phase of an aircraft. This will lead to a system of multiple modular elements that can be tailored to multiple applications in various aircraft designs.

The SafetyBox project team has selected Flight Design’s new C4 (pictured) as the first aircraft for the application of the system. Development times of the SafetyBox system match naturally with the development times of the C4 project, which makes this a natural initial project, according to company officials.

The full development will culminate in full scale crash testing of a completed aircraft under controlled conditions, planned for Summer 2015, to validate the suitability of the new system.

The application is not limited to Flight Design products. The system is designed as a modular system and will be offered to other aircraft manufacturers on the market.

The funding has been granted by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs. The application activity was launched by NorLiN Northern Lightweight Design Network of Hamburg, and involves development partners Autoflug GmbH, Flight Design GmbH, Silence Aircraft GmbH, Titan Präcis Metallurgie GmbH, HAW Hamburg – Department Fahrzeugtechnik und Flugzeugbau together with iDS Hamburg, and Faserinstitut e.V (FIBRE). The project is coordinated by Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (FIBRE).

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