Eight million of us take to the skies every single day, with the annual total recently pushing past three billion mark, and in our lifetime we are each likely to spend an average of 12 days in the air. And even though the odds of a plane crash are one for every 1.2 million flights. Around 30% of us still suffer anxiety when it comes to flying. Maybe that’s because, even though the odds are incredibly low there have been over 23,000 crashes since the dawn of aviation. The last decade alone has seen a total of 1770 plane crashes which resulted in over 11,000 fatalities. So are Airlines doing all they can keep to you safe, or when the unthinkable happens and your plane begins plummeting towards the ground are they doing quite the opposite. I’m Stu, this is Debunked and we’re here to sort the truths from the myths and the facts from the misconceptions. Google brace position and you’ll be flooded with results around the idea that it’s designed to either kill or at the very least to preserve passengers teeth to identify their remains. So why has this become a popular theory? And how is it supposed to work? It’s proposed that in the event of a crash the brace position is designed to kill you for breaking your neck and back on impact with the seat in front of you. Why would the airlines want to do this? Well if you die in a plane crash, the airline will most likely have to pay out for a wrongful death lawsuit. However if you survive having sustained multiple injuries, then the airline is faced with a hefty compensation payout and future disability claims. Now unnervingly this is where fact comes into play, it is cheaper for an airline to let you die by wrongful death rather than help you survive a plane crash and pay you compensation, because a wrongful death law suit is shockingly calculated at 3 – 40 million dollars less than the average visibility play out. There are no confirmed cases, that airlines have ever capitalize on this but history has shown that big business has chosen financial benefit over custom safety before. Let me take you back to the 1970s and the Ford Pinto controversy. Commercial: “The economical little Pinto at your local Ford dealer” The Ford Pinto had a serious fault and the manufacturers weighed up the cost of modifying its design to make them safe it was estimated that the subsequent product recall and changes would cost 113 million dollars, on the other hand potential damage payout if accidents occurred due to this faulty design, were calculated at 43 million dollars. AMAZINGLY Ford opted not to make its cars safe. This resulted in between 27 and 180 fatalities. So we know that financial gain can be the preferred option for big business. But before we go any further let’s look at the science behind the brace position itself and see what evidence there is to prove it really works. Officially designed to protect passengers and offer them the best chance of survival during a plane crash, the brace position as we currently know it, was introduced after the Kegworth Air Disaster in 1989, this was a plane crash involving 118 passengers, there were 47 fatalities, and of the 79 survivors, 74 had serious injury. An investigation into this crash discovered that the recommended brace position at the time may have actually led to some of the injuries the passangers suffered during the crash. The traditional brace position for those in economy, caused the passengers legs, arms, and torso to flail around after the initial impact, causinging multiple fractures. After the keg with a disaster the brace position was updated and the FAA released new instructions in 1994. This version, the one you may currently recognize, advises passengers to position their head and arms on the seat or bulkhead in front of them, and the passengers feet should be placed flat on the floor and slightly in front of the edge of the seat. This aimed to make it more effective at saving lives and reducing injuries, by minimizing the movement your body will endure during and after the initial impact. Since then there have been multiple accounts where the brace position has been credited for saving passengers lives and minimizing their injuries. The most recent evidence comes from the ‘2012 Boeing 727 Crash Experiment’, in this an unmanned plane with deliberately crashed into a desert in Mexico, with crash test dummies set in three different positions. 1, in the brace position with the seat belt fastened. 2, with just a seat belt fastened 3, without a seat belt and not in the brace position. The results found that the dummy with neither its belt fastened, nor in the brace position would have certainly perished in the crash, no surprises there. The dummy with just it’s seat belt fastened would have survived but with significant injuries. But the dummy wearing a seatbelt and adopting the brace position would have certainly survived. This has most recently been demonstrated during the famous miracle on the Hudson plane crash in 2009, where there was a 100% survival rate, as well as due to the heroics of Captain Sullenberg, the lack of fatalities has also been attributed to the use of the brace position. An even better example from the flight safety foundation, cites a crash where all passengers were either sleeping or reading, they had no warning of the impending impact, except one sixteen-year-old he woke, looked out of the window, saw they were about to crash, and adopted the brace position. He was the only survivor. There is evidence of numerous other cases that back up the positive use of the brace position, but if that doesn’t convince you then the stats speak for themselves. A study looking at commercial aviation between 1983 in 2000 showed there were 568 plane crashes in the US alone, these involve a total of 53487 people on board and of these 51207 people survived. That’s 95%. If the brace position was designed to kill, then that survival rate will be significantly lower. If you want to be among that nice 95% it is probably in your best interest to adopt the brace position. Each airline and safety organization has a slight variance on the brace position, but try to remember these 3 basic things: 1. lean forward and get your torso as low as possible, in economy or coach ensure your forearms and head are touching the seat in front of you, and make sure your seatbelt is fastened securely, this prevents your body jackknifing forward and striking the seat in front, OR your body flailing around and colliding with other parts of the plane. 2. Protect your head place your hands behind your head without interlocking fingers and ensure your forearms protect the sides of your face, in the Kegworth air crash many passengers were killed by luggage that fell from overhead compartments. Place any loose luggage under the seat in front of you and have your feet flat firmly on the floor, this prevents your legs jolting forward into the base of the seat in front, crushing your shins and breaking your legs, inhibiting you from escaping the aircraft. And you might want to consider where you sit on the plane, manufacturers Boeing, and the U.S Aviation Administration say that one seat is as safe as another. But a study by Popular Mechanics Magazine found that 45% of plane crash survivors were sat at the front of the plane, while 56% survived over the wing, but records show your most likely to survive at the rear of the plane with 69% of passengers walked away. So I guess, it doesn’t always pay to go first class.