Safety advocates started calling for the use of shoulder harnesses for improved pilot protection in the 1930s. By 1950, the U.S. Air Force was conducting tests with rocket sleds to study crash deceleration forces and human tolerance. These tests showed the importance of restraints for increased crash survival. This 1950 report summarizes the rocket sled program and its findings and applauds the Air Force for "an exceptionally daring and valuable research achievement.
Collections in the archives documenting sled tests to study impact forces and develop restraint systems include the John P. Stapp papers and Richard G. Snyder papers.
Lessons Learned from Transport Airplane Accidents (FAA) uses a library of major airline accidents (from the 1950s to the 2000s) to discuss common accident themes and threats and illustrate the complex relationship of accident causes.
Callback, the monthly newsletter of the Aviation Safety Reporting System, uses excerpts from ASRS reports to illustrate hazards, provide commentary about thematic issues, and invite the reader to consider "what would you do?"
Flightfax Online uses recent U.S. Army mishap experience to share lessons learned and provide insight into issues that affect the safety of aviation operations.
Flying Lessons looks at recent aircraft mishap reports to consider possible accident factors and encourage pilots to be prepared to make good decisions in similar circumstances. The two most recent newsletters are available for download from the Mastery Flight Training site, or subscribe to receive the free weekly e-newsletter.
Vectors for Safety: Gene Benson's Safety Initiative provides aviation safety information and practical ways to mitigate risk. Blog posts on operational issues and common errors include links to relevant aviation accident analyses. Accident analyses can also be browsed by category (use the "Accident Analysis" tab in the drop-down menu at the top of the page to select a category).
Newspaper clipping about the 17 Sept. 1908 Wright-Selfridge accident (Source: Library of Congress)