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Title 14: Aeronautics and Space
§23.785 Seats, berths, litters, safety belts, and shoulder harnesses.
There must be a seat or berth for each occupant that meets the following:
(a) Each seat/restraint system and the supporting structure must be designed to support occupants weighing at least 215 pounds when subjected to the maximum load factors corresponding to the specified flight and ground load conditions, as defined in the approved operating envelope of the airplane. In addition, these loads must be multiplied by a factor of 1.33 in determining the strength of all fittings and the attachment of—
(1) Each seat to the structure; and
(2) Each safety belt and shoulder harness to the seat or structure.
(b) Each forward-facing or aft-facing seat/restraint system in normal, utility, or acrobatic category airplanes must consist of a seat, a safety belt, and a shoulder harness, with a metal-to-metal latching device, that are designed to provide the occupant protection provisions required in §23.562. Other seat orientations must provide the same level of occupant protection as a forward-facing or aft-facing seat with a safety belt and a shoulder harness, and must provide the protection provisions of §23.562.
(c) For commuter category airplanes, each seat and the supporting structure must be designed for occupants weighing at least 170 pounds when subjected to the inertia loads resulting from the ultimate static load factors prescribed in §23.561(b)(2) of this part. Each occupant must be protected from serious head injury when subjected to the inertia loads resulting from these load factors by a safety belt and shoulder harness, with a metal-to-metal latching device, for the front seats and a safety belt, or a safety belt and shoulder harness, with a metal-to-metal latching device, for each seat other than the front seats.
(d) Each restraint system must have a single-point release for occupant evacuation.
(e) The restraint system for each crewmember must allow the crewmember, when seated with the safety belt and shoulder harness fastened, to perform all functions necessary for flight operations.
(f) Each pilot seat must be designed for the reactions resulting from the application of pilot forces to the primary flight controls as prescribed in §23.395 of this part.
(g) There must be a means to secure each safety belt and shoulder harness, when not in use, to prevent interference with the operation of the airplane and with rapid occupant egress in an emergency.
(h) Unless otherwise placarded, each seat in a utility or acrobatic category airplane must be designed to accommodate an occupant wearing a parachute.
(i) The cabin area surrounding each seat, including the structure, interior walls, instrument panel, control wheel, pedals, and seats within striking distance of the occupant's head or torso (with the restraint system fastened) must be free of potentially injurious objects, sharp edges, protuberances, and hard surfaces. If energy absorbing designs or devices are used to meet this requirement, they must protect the occupant from serious injury when the occupant is subjected to the inertia loads resulting from the ultimate static load factors prescribed in §23.561(b)(2) of this part, or they must comply with the occupant protection provisions of §23.562 of this part, as required in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
(j) Each seat track must be fitted with stops to prevent the seat from sliding off the track.
(k) Each seat/restraint system may use design features, such as crushing or separation of certain components, to reduce occupant loads when showing compliance with the requirements of §23.562 of this part; otherwise, the system must remain intact.
(l) For the purposes of this section, a front seat is a seat located at a flight crewmember station or any seat located alongside such a seat.
(m) Each berth, or provisions for a litter, installed parallel to the longitudinal axis of the airplane, must be designed so that the forward part has a padded end-board, canvas diaphragm, or equivalent means that can withstand the load reactions from a 215-pound occupant when subjected to the inertia loads resulting from the ultimate static load factors of §23.561(b)(2) of this part. In addition—
(1) Each berth or litter must have an occupant restraint system and may not have corners or other parts likely to cause serious injury to a person occupying it during emergency landing conditions; and
(2) Occupant restraint system attachments for the berth or litter must withstand the inertia loads resulting from the ultimate static load factors of §23.561(b)(2) of this part.
(n) Proof of compliance with the static strength requirements of this section for seats and berths approved as part of the type design and for seat and berth installations may be shown by—
(1) Structural analysis, if the structure conforms to conventional airplane types for which existing methods of analysis are known to be reliable;
(2) A combination of structural analysis and static load tests to limit load; or
(3) Static load tests to ultimate loads.
[Amdt. 23-36, 53 FR 30813, Aug. 15, 1988; Amdt. 23-36, 54 FR 50737, Dec. 11, 1989; Amdt. 23-49, 61 FR 5167, Feb. 9, 1996]