Airbag seat belt technology just opened wide for retrofit installation on older aircraft. The FAA granted AmSafe’s State of the Art Restraint System (SOARS) supplemental type certificate approval July 12 with an approved model list of 541 models.
The universal system, introduced to the general aviation community during Sun ‘n Fun in April, is for sale at an introductory price of $2,580. AmSafe will be at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 23 through 29, to show off the new product.
AmSafe worked closely with the FAA to certify SOARS. The FAA called the STC “a step forward toward increased safety and occupant protection.”
Because it is a universal system, SOARS is not customizable by color or cable length, unlike AmSafe’s other retrofit STCs that are model specific. An A&P can install the restraint system and complete an FAA Form 337 (the FAA form is not required for installation on experimental aircraft). The kit comes with a body block to ensure proper alignment and installation, and an electronic module that performs self-diagnostics (AmSafe’s other systems require a special diagnostic tool). The electronic module is good for 10 years.
The system will deploy in 50 milliseconds if it detects longitudinal deceleration of 9 Gs lasting consistently for 40 to 50 milliseconds. The airbag deploys from the lap belt on both configurations.