By PETE BUNCE
What can general aviation learn from NASCAR? When it comes to adopting new safety technology, quite a bit.
Following the death of racing legend Dale Earnhardt in 2001, NASCAR took a serious look at the safety of the sport. The racing group took a broad approach to better protecting occupants in the event of an accident by properly restraining the driver, using energy-absorbing materials, and creating survivable volume inside the car. As a result, drivers now regularly walk away from crashes at very high speeds and conduct television interviews immediately afterward.
The general aviation industry has been doing its own research and paying attention to what the auto racing industry is doing. Unfortunately, the current regulatory structure governing the design of most general aviation airplanes doesn’t easily allow similar innovative, safety-enhancing products and technologies to come to market.
That may be about to change, however. [Read more…]