Overhead Bins

Date:         21 Nov 97 01:59:54 
From:         Andrew Weir <andyweir@compuserve.com>
References:   1
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  or MIME structure

>  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?

Very real. In the January 1989 crash of a British Midland 737-400 (you
know, the one where they shut down the wrong engine) people were killed
like this. The trauma surgeons, unusually for an air crash, were able to
get funding to carry out extensive studies into all the injuries on board
(47 of the 126 on board died, the rest were seriously injured). They
concluded that several passengers were killed by heavy objects flying out
of the bins and striking them in the back of the head, or by bits of the
bins themselves. Every overhead bin but one was ripped from its mountings.
The bin debris also greatly impeded the efforts of the rescuers.

In the official report, the investigators recommended: Quote <<The
certification requirements for cabin stowage bins, and other cabin items
of mass, should be modified to ensure the retention of these items to
fuselage structure when subjected to dynamic crash pulses substantially
beyond the static load factors currently required.>> End quote. An NTSB
report following the MD-81 crash near Stockholm in 1991 (no deaths but
the bins came down too) also criticised static loading in the certification
of the bins.

I believe no regulatory action followed.

BTW, passengers in RAF transport aircraft are not allowed to put anything
other than jackets, coats and hats in the overhead bins.

A Weir