Do I Really Need Shoulder Harnesses (Yeah, you DO!)
Shoulder Harness Install Article from ABS Magazine
Read this article for a
very big time saving template design for cutting the headliner! Cutting the
headliner was the most tedious part of the project for me. The template idea in
the ABS article will be a big help to you and your mechanic.
BAS 4-point shoulder
harnesses can easily be accomplished under
A&P supervision with a
buddy in a weekend or one long Saturday with time left for some beers to
For planning purposes only,
the 2003 BAS installation instructions that I received when I purchased my kit
Don't Delay! If you think
you don't need shoulder harnesses, Click
for this NTSB report. Pilot and Co-Pilot (Pilot was a Beech Lister) died
of massive head injuries suffered in the crash landing while rear seat occupant
walks away from scene with a broken arm!
The above NTSB report involved two front seat fatalities (also appropriate
for the shoulder harness threads), while the rear set passenger suffered only a
Side Note: This was the event that jogged this CSOB into purchasing and
installing the BAS shoulder harnesses into 23W in 2006.
It would appear the fuel exhaustion unporting in pattern maneuvering
contributed to the airplane becoming a dead stick glider. The resulting slide
and sudden stop in a ditch/culvert caused mega head injuries to the front
seaters, of which they died a week or so later.
Of note is the NTSB's findings that fuel was remaining in both aux tanks.
This was the older J35 fuel configuration.
I would hypothesize that had they run their aux tanks dry in cruise, they
might not have had a glider on their hands at arrival time.
Of course, not stretching fuel or having a FF totalizer that talks to your
GPS so you have a reliable FRAD (fuel remaining at destination) OR SLOWING DOWN
to reduce parasitic drag and achieve higher NM/gal would be much better choices
Choose wisely my friends, choose wisely!
Check out the FAA guidance on shoulder harnesses
PS: I later learned that "Hooker" style shoulder
harnesses were installed in this plane BUT were not being used by the pilot &
co-pilot! The Hooker style harnesses connect to the rear seat belt. There have
been concerns expressed by some for possible spinal compression with these
Hooker types of belts. Unbelievably sad that they were not even using the Hooker
style, probably due to one passenger being in the rear of the plane at the time.
Still not convinced, well here is a picture of a
Beech owner Dale H., who, without a shoulder harness, was lucky enough to survive a forced
landing crash in his Beechcraft F33A with major chest trauma - receiving a
fractured sternum! You can clearly see the outline of his control wheel in his
chest! Here is his
And here is where Dale's unrestrained head went
in his forced landing. Folks, think about that for a moment, a forced landing in
which the airframe slid to a wheels up stop, without any blunt impact to any
stationary object on the ground. Please get yourself some shoulder harnesses.
Check out this article
HERE on shoulder harnesses by Dennis Wolter of AirMod
Check out this article
by Tom Turner of ABS in his Safety Pilot Article
HERE on shoulder harnesses
comparisons of use vs. non-use.
In the interest of being Fair & Balanced,
HERE is an install
article on the Alpha diagonal harness that was generously allowed to be offered
here by BT'er Dan R.
Below are the remnants of a Bonanza forced
landing in a mature Wisconsin corn field. The front seat occupants were wearing
shoulder harnesses and survived.
Beech Lister "JB" sprang for the extra bucks to
get the quick release buckles on his BAS shoulder harnesses as seen below.
Very nice choice JB!
Check out the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety Video below to see why you might want to have shoulder harnesses in
your Beechcraft. Also, give some thought to finding some headrests if you don't
already have them. Look at the snap back of the dummy's neck in the Malibu. The
dummy in the Bel Air didn't even get to have his neck snapped back because the
roof collapsed on him!
Beech Lister John (Weebs) W. recently posted this
situation which might have had a different ending with shoulder harnesses. Read
it and decide for yourself.
Some of you may know that Ron Meyer (SWBS member
was killed this last Saturday at Wiley Post airport) went west. Following is an
excerpt from a SWBS member close to the family and accident. Of particular
interest is the statement in the last paragraph posted below:
Here is the latest information we have on the Ron
& Nam Meyer Bonanza
Everyone around the airport is still in shock and
speculating on what could
gone wrong. All that is known for sure is that he lost power on aleft downwind
departure from 17L at KPWA and was not able to make it back to the airport. The
accident site is 5,500 feet from the approach end of runway 17L, but the airport
property open area is only about 2,600 feet away. There are almost no other
places on the east side of the airport that are usable as an emergency landing
Ron's body is to be released from the medical
examiner today and viewing will be at Barnes Friederich Funeral Home in Midwest
City tomorrow and Saturday before cremation. Nam should be released from the
hospital today and will be transferred to rehab at the Jim Thorpe Rehab Center
here in OKC.
The family plans a memorial service when she has
recovered sufficiently to attend, so no date has been set. I do not have an
update on the condition of the other passengers other than the passenger riding
in the baggage compartment jump seat was not seriously injured.
The airplane was brought back to KPWA and put in
the hangar Saturday and the FAA and NTSB have completed their investigations. A
Hawker-Beech representative removed the fuel valve and took it back to Wichita
for investigation. The engine was removed and will be shipped to Continental for
analysis. The recovery team removed the wings and trucked it out yesterday, I
assume to ASOD in Dallas.
After seeing the damage to the panel, I am
convinced that Ron's and the right front seat passenger's injuries would have
been much less severe had they been using shoulder belts, however the airplane
was not equipped with them.
Seems once again that installed shoulder
harnesses "may" have prevented a death and more serious injuries. My
condolences to the Meyers family.
BAS 1970 & Earlier Beech Info
HERE 1971 & Later
My Editorial Opinion follows:
In case you're
thinking about an "Auto Style" three point harness, riddle me this
Batman, why don't we see three-point auto harnesses in the crew seats on jet
aircraft, race cars and the bumper cars at the amusement park? Nuff said! To be
fair, I guess a three-point auto style shoulder harness is better than just lap
belts. But, as owner/PIC, you get to decide these things for yourself.