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Home > Ditching > How can a seat cushion be turned into a floatation device?
How can a seat cushion be turned into a floatation device?
Flying - Ditching
Written by Capt Lim   
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 11:51

Hi Captain Lim,

I'm very curious about the Airbus A380 and all of the luxuries inside it. Anyway, onto my question; how can a seat cushion be turned into a floatation device? I've been wondering this for a long time. I usually keep my seatbelt buckled at all times when I'm sitting in any vehicle on the ground or in the air.

I take Otravin before I board a flight to prevent the popping in my ears during the change in air pressure.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Surette

Hi Cheryl,

All the seats in modern airliners are provided with a life jacket each as a floatation device in the event of an emergency landing on water (or ditching, a commonly known term in the aviation industry). Seat cushions are not designed nor intended to be used as flotation devices.

Nevertheless, in some small planes, some seat-cushions have been developed to provide adequate survivor flotation in the event of an emergency landing on water but have not been approved as a legal device as they are "not wearable".

What you are curious about are probably related to small boat operations that are accustomed to using seat cushions as life saving devices. However, today they must have a "wearable device" available for each person on board. Previously, regulations considered flotation seat cushions as a legal life saving device in small watercraft

So there is a misconception of using or turning the seat cushions as flotation devices in planes to some. It could not be because seat cushions are not wearable as ninety percent of fatalities associated with boating mishaps and accidents are because victims are not wearing life saving jackets and are often drown as a result.

Airbus A380 Safety Video

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Your statement "Seat cushions are not designed nor intended to be used as flotation devices" is not acurate.
TSO C72c gives the criteria for seat bottom cushions being used as flotation devices.
Sal , 28 May, 2009
http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_...E/C72c.pdf


2.0.2 Description of Noninflatabel Types.
Seat cushions, head rests, arm rests, pillows, or similar aircraft equipment are eligible as flotation devices under this standard provided they fulfill minimum requirements for safety and performance. Compression through extended service use, perspiration and periodic cleaning must not reduce the buoyancy characteristics of these devices below the minimum level prescribed in this standard.
Anil Gowd. C , 01 Jul, 2010

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