Most military aircraft, for safety reasons, have their passenger seats reversed with respect to the direction of travel. I am wondering why this is a safer system.
(Please don't say it's because aircraft hardly ever reverse into mountains, that line has been around since the Wright brothers :)
This seat reversal system has been recommended for civilian aircraft many times, but mainly for psychological and financial reasons, it has never been adopted on a wide scale.
There is a reference here Aviation Stack Exchange but it does not explore the resultant forces involved in a collision.
My main point is that, the next 10 years, driverless cars will probably reach a large section of society, and for all but the human "supervisor", reversed seats may confer an additional safety advantages.
My questions concerns the reasons why reversal of seats reduces / mitigates the impact forces involved in a collision.
I am trying to think through the difference in forces regarding say, reduction in neck injuries, but other than spreading the impact load through the larger surface area of the person's back, I can't come up with a fundamental reason based on forces and vectors, although I am fairly sure there is a connection, otherwise I would not asking this question.
Some clues may be given from the following extract.
From: Aerospace Magazine
Yet they also cite a 1958 accident involving an airliner in Munich, Germany, which crashed on takeoff with the Manchester United soccer team on board. Those in forward-facing seats were killed, and those in aft-facing seats were saved.
In 1983, Richard Snyder, a research scientist studying crash protection and transportation safety at the University of Michigan, published a paper titled “Impact Protection in Air Transport Passenger Seat Design.” Snyder wrote, “Data appear to overwhelmingly substantiate that the seated occupant can tolerate much higher crash forces when oriented in the rearward-facing position.”
EDIT From John Rennie's comment, (in case it gets deleted)
Isn't this obvious? Suppose you were to experience 50g. Would you prefer to do it lying on your back on a smooth surface or lying on your front supported only by two lengths of webbing?
I was looking for an answer in terms of some reduction in forces, but it is simply a spreading of the impact.