Overhead Bins

Date:         20 Nov 97 02:53:42 
From:         "P. Wezeman" <pwezeman@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Organization: The University of Iowa
Followups:    1 2 3 4
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   There have been several newspaper articles about the danger and
inconvenience of excess carry on baggage recently. The "Wall Street
Journal" even mentioned people stowing bowling balls, which I hope
is unusual.
   From their looks, overhead bins seem to be intended to hold blankets,
pillows, jackets and coats, and perhaps small soft-sided luggage. They
do not seem to be designed to contain dangerous missiles in a crash;
many of the complaints are about things falling out and hitting people
during normal flight or while stowing or unstowing things. The latches
seem to pop open easily with a slight jolt.
   Is there a standard for how much weight an overhead bin must be
able to contain in what would be a survivable crash?
   If the doors were no longer such a weak point, say by using full length
piano type hinges and three or four cross-bolt latches, would this
improve things or would the whole bin just tear loose instead?
   Is the danger more apparent than real? Are people ever injured or
killed by objects from overhead bins in what would otherwise be a
survivable crash, or do the objects tend to end up in the aisle instead?
If there is sufficient warning before a forced landing, do cabin
attendants attempt to remove the most dangerous items from overhead?

                        Peter Wezeman, anti-social Darwinist

                             "Carpe Cyprinidae"