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Home > Air Travel > Could you explain to me what "brace yourself" means?
Could you explain to me what "brace yourself" means?
Flying - Air Travel
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 09:41


Hi Captain Lim,

Could you explain to me what "brace yourself" means? Why do you have to get into the position? I have heard loads of reasons.

Anyway, I would love to become a pilot myself.

Please reply.

Chris.

Hi Chris,

You will hear this term "brace yourself for impact" being used in briefings when preparing for a crash landing or ditching (attempting an emergency landing in water). This procedure requires you to tuck your feet firmly behind your knees. This will stop your legs from flailing around in front of you during an impact. In addition, you are to place your head forward and close to your knees if the seatback in front of you is not reachable; or having your hands and arms to support your head, resting on the seatback if it is reachable.

It is not easy to explain this effectively this every passengers. So regulatory bodies have made it mandatory for airlines to place aircraft safety cards behind every seat depicting how to adopt the brace position.

How useful is the brace position during a crash?

Although there have been talks that the brace position is only effective for preserving the dental integrity for identification during a crash, the reality is that it does save lives. This was shown in one accident where the plane was about to crash - the only passenger who woke up and adopted the brace procedure survived.

Another successful example was in the SAS MD-80 crash in 1991. Here, the plane lost both its engines after take off - subsequently crashed and broke into three pieces. The majority of the passengers survived with only 7 listed as seriously injured. The high survival rates were attributed to all the passengers adopting the brace position.

If you are unfortunate to end up in such a situation, what other information must you have?

Well, knowing how to adopt the brace position is well and good but don*t make the mistake of immediately getting up after the first impact. Stay in the brace position until the aircraft has come to a complete stop for there is usually more than one impact. Normally, the cabin crew would call and direct you to a safe evacuation door. If not, make your way to the nearest safe exit.

Wish you a safe flight.

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