International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events
The International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events (IBRACE) was founded on 21 November 2016 by a group of subject-matter experts in aviation (cabin safety and accident/incident investigation), engineering (sled-impact testing, aerospace materials, lightweight advanced-composite structures, and air transport safety and investigation), clinical medicine (specifically, orthopaedic trauma surgery and anaesthesia), and human factors. These experts are associated with organizations that include the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, USA (CAMI); Cranfield University, England; GRM Consulting Ltd., England; Spire Liverpool Hospital, England; TÜV Rheinland, Germany; the University of Calgary, Canada; the University of Nottingham, England; and Wonkwang University, Korea.
IBRACE is a joint cooperation between these experts for the purpose of producing an internationally agreed, evidence-based set of impact bracing positions for passengers and (eventually) cabin crew members in a variety of seating configurations, which will be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) through its Cabin Safety Group (ICSG).
In the early 1990s, following the UK Kegworth air disaster (8 January 1989 ), a research project was undertaken by a group of surgeons, air accident investigators and pathologists to analyse the injury profile of the passengers and crew on board the aircraft. This project led to the first research-based definition of the passenger's brace position.
In 2007, the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs  recommended a brace position for forward-facing passenger seats, which differed in some important respects from other contemporary research-based recommendations: this was based on a dummy test run first reported in 1995.
In 2010, at least two international aviation transportation agencies issued a number of recommendations of different passenger brace positions. These agencies included Transport Canada, in its Advisory Circular on Passenger and Flight Attendant Brace Positions (2010), and the US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration FAA, in its Advisory Circular on Passenger Safety Information Briefing and Briefing Cards (2010).
In 2015, the Office of Aerospace Medicine, Department of Transport, FAA, released the results of its own study, Effect of Passenger Position on Crash Injury Risk in Transport-Category Aircraft. As with the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs report, this latest FAA study differed in some important respects from other research-based recommendations.
In 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) began to develop guidance material on information and instructions for passenger safety, which includes a review of brace positions. This review was carried out with the goal of developing internationally harmonised recommendations on the subject, including instructions for Civil Aviation Authorities on the passenger and cabin crew brace positions. At its April 2016 meeting, the ICSG heard from subject-matter experts on the passenger and cabin crew brace positions from Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as from a cabin-safety expert from Korea and a human-factors and evidence-based medicine expert from Canada.
An ad hoc group of the ICSG was formed and committee members met through a series of telephone consultations. Certain common elements of a safe brace position for forwards-facing passenger seats in Economy class were identified and discussed. On 26 September 2016, the ad hoc group became the Brace Position Sub-Group of the ICAO Cabin Safety Group (ICSG), known hereinafter as the ICSG Sub-Group, under the leadership of Mr. Martin Maurino MEng, Safety, Efficiency and Operations Officer, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau.
Continuing review of the evidence and further discussions led the ICSG Sub-Group to determine that there was no single, completely evidence-based and internationally agreed passenger brace position to reduce an aircraft occupant’s risk of injury during an aircraft crash sequence. However, because of the lack of agreement on the best evidence, the ICSG Sub-Group was unable to recommend to the ICSG one single brace position for passengers seated in forward-facing Economy class seats.
Some elements of the brace position were not agreed, in as much as they were considered to be:
- Clearly dangerous, as determined by all the reputable research, or
- Not agreed by the relevant researchers.
The specific elements requiring further investigation are:
- The leg position; whether the legs should be bent at the knees, with the lower legs inclined backwards, or whether the legs should be kept straight and extended forwards, with the feet under the seat ahead (if present);
- The question of whether, or not, the forearms and hands should rest on the seat in front with the head resting on the crossed forearms, whether the forearms should wrap around the head, or whether the forearms should hang down by the legs.
The ICSG Sub-Group continued to meet by telephone until 21 November 2016, when an in-person and web-based meeting was held in England, at the Royal College of Physicians, London. One of the goals of the meeting was to determine how to plan and undertake further research in order to produce the necessary evidence upon which recommendations about the brace position could be based. Because of the need to raise funds to support the research, a decision was made to transform the ICSG Sub-Group into a body independent of the ICAO, and this led to the formation of IBRACE.
IBRACE is still supported by the ICAO Cabin Safety Group.
|Mr. Martin Maurino MEng (Secretary)||Safety, Efficiency and Operations Officer, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau, Montreal, PQ, Canada|
|Dr. Rishi Abhyankar BEng PhD||Lecturer - Lightweight Structures; Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre, Cranfield University, England|
|Dr. Graham Braithwaite BSc PhD FRAeS||Director, Transport Systems, Academic & Business Support, Cranfield University, England|
|Mr. Peter Brownson DM FRCS (Ed) FRCS (Tr & Orth)||Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Spire Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool|
|Dr. James Brighton EngD, BEng, FIAgrE||Senior Lecturer, Off road and Motorsport Vehicle Dynamics, SATM; Head of the Centre for Advanced Vehicle Engineering, Cranfield University|
|Professor Chris Colton MB BS LRCP FRCS(Eng), FRCSEd||Professor Emeritus in Orthopaedic and Accident Surgery, Nottingham University|
|Professor Jan M Davies MSc MD FRCPC FRAeS||Professor of Anesthesia, Cumming School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary, Calgary|
|Ms. Amanda Taylor BME||Research Engineer, Biodynamics Research Team, Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Federal Aviation Authority, Oklahoma City, USA|
|Oliver Tomlin BEng CEng, MIMechE, DipMgt||Engineering Director, GRM Consulting Ltd., Leamington Spa|
|David Toth, Diplomingenieur FH (Aeronautical Engineering: Airline Operations)||Aviation Engineer, Cabin Safety Expert / Compliance Verification Engineer, TÜV Rheinland Kraftfahrt GmbH Technology Center Traffic Safety|
|Professor Angus Wallace MB ChB, FRCS (Ed&Eng), FRCSEd (Orth)||Emeritus Professor, Nottingham University Section of Academic Orthopaedics, Trauma & Sports Medicine|
|Dr. James Watson PhD||Project Engineer, Cranfield Impact Centre|
|Professor Jenny Yoo BA, LLM, DSc||Professor, Department of Airline Service, Kwangju Women's University, Gwangju City, Republic of Korea (formerly of Wonkwang Health Science University, Korea)|
Corresponding Members at the time of Founding, IBRACE
|Mr. Michael Demary Dipl.-Ing. (FH)||Aviation Engineer, Cabin Safety Expert, Team Leader Aviation of TÜV Rheinland Kraftfahrt GmbH Technology Centre Traffic Safety, Germany|
|Mr. Martin Sperber Diplomingenieur FH (Aeronautical Engineering: Airline Operations)||Key Account Management Aviation / Airports, Cabin Safety Expert, TÜV Rheinland Industrie Service GmbH, Germany|
- Brownson, P; Wallace, W. A.; Anton, D. J. (1998). "A modified crash brace position for aircraft passengers". Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 69 (10): 975–8. PMID 9773899.
- In Yoo, Kyung; Davies, Jan M. (2015). "A Request for Regulatory Revision". Aviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors. 5: 45–51. doi:10.1027/2192-0923/a000072.
- White, BD; Firth, JL; Rowles, JM (1993). "The effects of brace position on injuries sustained in the M1 Boeing 737/400 disaster, January 1989". Aviat Space Environ Medicine. 64: 103–109. PMID 8431182.
- Yoo, Kyung In; Kim, Mu Geun (2015). "A Study of SHEL Model Application to Passenger Brace Position Information of Korean Air Carriers". Journal of the Korean Society for Aviation and Aeronautics. 23 (4): 125–32. doi:10.12985/ksaa.2015.23.4.125.
- "AAIB report".
- "Thesis John Rowles: Impact Biomechanics of the Pelvis and Lower Limbs. in Occupants Involved in an Impact Aircraft Accident: reference 11195".
- Brownson, Peter (1993). "Thesis Nottingham University" (PDF).
- Civil Aviation Authority (1995). "A Study of Aircraft Brace Positions for Impact". CAA Paper. 95004.
- "Airline Safety and Certification". Retrieved 6 February 2017.
- Transport Canada. "Passenger and Flight Attendant Brace Position". Retrieved 6 February 2017.
- FAA Home. "121-24C - Passenger Safety Information Briefing and Briefing Cards". Retrieved 6 February 2017.
- Taylor, Amanda M; DeWeese, Richard L; Moorcroft, David M (2015). "Effect of Passenger Position on Crash Injury Risk in Transport-Category Aircraft" (PDF). Office of Aerospace Medicine technical reports. DOT/FAA/AM-15/17.