WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published April 26, 2011, 06:25 PM

UND Planes Have Unique Safety Feature

Remember when your mom told you to always put on your seat belt because it would keep you safe? A newer type of seat belt takes this rule to a new level for UND students learning how to fly.

"We really wanted the safest possible plane for our students to train them in," said Clayton Leith, a UND flight instructor.

The Cessna 172, the type of plane used to instruct aviation students, is standard equipped with the AM-Safe seat belt that has an airbag inside of it.

If there would be an accident, the airbag would deploy from the lap belt rather than forward from the dash, like most regular airbags.

Clayton: "There's been a lot of injuries because of that (airbags deploying from the dash)," said Leith.

These seat belts eliminate a possible broken nose.

"We did have a mishap in Park Rapids in 2009 and students wearing the AM-Safe seat belts were saved from serious injury," said Brent Carlsen, another flight instructor.

The seat belt is connected to a censor underneath the seat. If there is an accident, it detects the pressure from a forward deceleration and tells the airbag to get to work.

"They are pretty reliable and go off when they need to," said Carlsen.

UND has had a whole line of Cessna 172's since July 2008.

"Heaven forbid anything go wrong, but it's nice to know you have any added safety feature,' said Leith.