In February 2010, a group of airline crew members got together to discuss a continuing passenger and crew member safety issue out of necessity: The fact that the lower head height of the main cabin entryway in regional jets was causing people loading and offloading to strike their heads and injure themselves. Our commitment to our industry, and our belief in safety first, led us to launch Head Guard.
Head Guard employs various crew members from different parts of the United States to help and assist in the sales, assembly and the day to day business operations of our company. The entire group has over 300 years of combined aviation experience and airline training. We promote the same philosophy of the FAA, "Passenger Safety First." Each member of the group has worked closely together to solve this critical safety issue before a predictable fatality occurs. Were it to continue to go unmentioned, and Head Guard does not become immediately available for safety purposes, then the injuries will continue and legal issues arise.
Some of the letters we have received showing industry support are shown on the page below or are linked as PDFs on the right.
Due to the high volume of letters, we regret we cannot put all of the letters of support on this page. If you would like to review more letters of support please contact us.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have been a career airline pilot for over five years and have witnessed a disregard to passenger safety and crew members. It must be corrected in order to avoid any future injuries or any future litigation. I am and have been a Captain on the Canadair Regional Jet for the last three years. The priority of the FAA and flight crew personnel is safety for our passengers at all times. This includes all aspects of flight as well as the boarding and de-boarding process.
One concern I have regarding safety on my aircraft and all regional aircraft is the main cabin entry door. I have seen hundreds and hundreds of passengers and crew members hit their head on the upper part of the entryway. As the Flight Attendant or I greet the passengers boarding our aircraft, we are consistently warning many passengers to "watch your head," if time allows from our regular duties. The same can be said as we offload the passengers. Unfortunately, a percentage of passengers strike their head and injuries are sustained either while ingress or egress is in process. A majority of the time the result is an open wound due to a laceration followed by blood loss, loss of balance, head ache and bruising. Each of these injuries requires the need of some form of immediate medical attention. Whether, by the flight attendant with a first aid kit or in more severe cases the need to call emergency medical assistance. Either way one of the important things to focus on, which is often overlooked, is the bio-hazard regarding the bleeding passenger or crew member in the cabin or in the general public in the airport.
While using a jet-bridge to load and unload passengers does add to the general safety of passengers in general, the jet bridge method, as well as using the aircraft stairs, each has their own safety concerns.
For example, the jet bridges at most airports are designed for "mainline" aircraft utilizing larger passenger aircraft that are higher off the ground. When a "Regional" aircraft utilizes these jet bridges they must use a "ramp" to bridge the gap between the jet bridge and the aircraft. This ramp actually decreases the opening of the entrance way by approximately three to six inches, making it more hazardous for the passenger entering or exiting the aircraft due to the increase in height.
The aircraft stair method of loading and unloading of passengers also is hazardous to the passengers due to the very steep and narrow stairs. The reason this is hazardous is due to the common human reaction after hitting one's head. The common human reaction is to close ones eyes and "back up". This is more dangerous as the passenger is entering the aircraft. I have seen passengers hit their head and immediately start moving backward. If we as the flight crew stand idly by without physically grabbing the passengers, they would most definitely and literally fall out of the aircraft via the aircraft stairs as has been done in the past.
I feel the most suitable and economically sound device to prevent these injuries to our passengers and crew members is to make mandatory the use of a safety pad that has already been designed and adheres to each and every make, series and model of regional aircraft and other passenger aircraft alike, with the same reduced passenger entryway. I have witnessed and used it; I found it to be very convenient and easy to use.
It is placed in the upper portion of the entryway into the cabin while passengers are being loaded or unloaded and it tremendously reduces the risk of any further injuries to a passenger or crew member. I feel it is only a matter of time before a passenger is injured then takes legal action to hold the carrier, aircraft manufacturer and others responsible.
Although serious injuries from airplane mishaps are rare, they do happen. A number of airline passengers each year suffer minor, severe, and sometimes fatal injuries caused by baggage falling from overhead bins, slips and falls on the way to the restroom, and severe turbulence. It is just a matter of time before the legal system starts to notice the amount of previous injuries from the entryway height and the amount of passengers that strike their head upon entering or exiting the aircraft. Injured passengers have legal claims against the airline, its employees, aircraft and component manufacturers, or even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
As defIned in the law text books; Common carrier standard -- a heightened duty of care. Airlines fall into a legal category called "common carriers" -- entities that transport the general public for a fee. The law imposes a heightened duty of care on common carriers.
Airlines and other common carriers must act with a high degree of care and use the vigilance of a very cautious person in order to protect passengers from potential harm This standard of care extends to the airline's employees as well (including pilots, flight attendants, ground crew, maintenance workers, and the airline's own safety inspectors). Airlines also owe this heightened duty of care to passengers while they are boarding the plane, traveling onboard the aircraft, and getting off the plane. Once the passengers disembark, however, the airline is off the hook.
Captain Kyle Payne,
Regional Airline Pilot
To Whom It May Concern;
I am writing to inform you of my support for the head guard passenger safety device onboard all regional aircraft. I am a former Flight Attendant on the CRJ 700 and the EMB 145. I have witnessed numerous head injuries that were a direct cause of the passenger cabin entryway, which resulted in lacerations and bleeding in the cabin of the aircraft.
The results of the injuries are a direct responsibility from people not seeing the top of the passenger main cabin doorway. The distractions are from focusing down at the narrow vertical steps or the unstable crossover ramp from the jet bridge to the aircraft in order to gain ingress and egress. The contributing factor is from the height of the cabin entryway. The entryway is below the average height of a person. Add in the rise from the ramp or the straightening up of one's body once getting to the top step, and it is a disaster in the making. In doing so they (passengers) hit their forehead when they get to the top step, by walking directly into the hardened steel of the main cabin entryway. During exiting people are focused on looking down to focus again and continuously hit the top of their cranium causing further injury. Without the use of the passenger head guard that has been introduced, we are continuing to risk the safety of the passengers and crew, as well as future legal issues due to passenger negligence on the part of the airlines, insurance groups, aircraft manufactures and the FAA.
Crew members, injured passengers and I all agree that this is a serious safety hazard and needs the immediate attention of all authority figures. Aircraft Insurers, FAA, Aircraft Manufactures and the Airlines are all legally responsible for the safety practices and all precautionary circumstances for the traveling public. The legal negligence for this concern is easily negated and a cheap quick fix by the use of the device that has been patented and designed. It should be mandatory that all regional passenger aircraft cabin entryways have the hardened steel overhead covered with the foam protective device during loading and off loading. I have seen many passengers and crew members strike their head and either collapse forward, try to grab on to something to maintain balance, start to fall down the aircraft stairs and fall back into boarding passengers behind them on the steps or Jet Bridge.
I know this problem is an easy fix; crew members and passengers would greatly value the main cabin door "head guard". I have seen the invention and understand the total cost to be less than a penny per passenger; a small price for PASSENGER SAFETY when you consider other costs that do less to prevent further injuries. If you have ever seen or heard someone hit their head you would gladly donate a penny or more towards the device in order to have prevented their injuries. I have had to provide medical care, call for medical attention and apply pressure on bleeding persons; we must act, or we are to be held accountable in the future. If we continue to do nothing about this crisis, the cost of legalities alone for one injured passenger is going to far exceed the total costs of the product on each regional aircraft. WE MUST ADDRESS THIS ISSUE NOW.
Former Regional Aircraft Flight Attendant
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this safety recommendation letter concerning the size of regional aircraft main entry doors.
I have been an airline passenger for four decades, a professional pilot for two decades, and an aviation safety inspector for almost one decade.
The regional aircraft has been an incredible technological advancement in airline travel. Regional aircraft use less fuel, operate more cost effectively and can take off and land at more and smaller airports than larger airline aircraft.
With the advancement in technology, engine efficiency and crew training, one area has been overlooked. The fuselage has been reduced in size for the regional aircraft. This reduction has reduced the available space to accommodate an entry door that is designed for the statistical average human being.
I have personally hit my head on several instances and witnessed numerous other passengers bumping, bashing, smashing, lacerating and even seeing stars after a head to entry door encounter. This situation needs to be rectified; it is only be a matter of time until a serious passenger or flight crew injury occurs.
I have been privy to a simple and cost effective solution to this problem; a form fitting cushion encompassing the main entry door. This will cushion the head to main entry door impact and substantially reduce or alleviate any serious injury.
This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by the aircraft operator, airline industry and regulatory authorities before a fatality occurs associated with an Epidural or Extradural Hematoma.
A simple solution has been presented to a hidden problem. I personally believe this issue is long overdue and needs to be rectified before a serious injury or fatality occurs. Safety First; this is the foundation of the aviation industry.
Mr. Troy A. Zwicke
Professional Pilot & Aviation Safety Inspector
To Whom It May Concern:
Air travel has experienced a drastic and rapid transition in the continental United States. Travel between cities has changed from a "full size" airframe to the more compact regional airframe capable of carrying, at most, half the number of passengers. This puts more aircraft in the air feeding major hubs. More traffic and tighter scheduling to get passengers to their destination generates a higher stress level at the gate. When it is time to board, the clock starts ticking and gate personnel are pressured by both the airport and the air crew to get the passengers on board and the aircraft out of the gate so the next one can pull in.
The stress felt by gate personnel is, by nature, going to generate an elevated stress in the passengers. They are going to rush to get on board. In this perceived need to over-expedite getting on board they do not notice that the entrance to the aircraft is substantially smaller than on full size aircraft. Any passenger taller than 5'9" is in real danger of hitting his/her head while boarding. Currently there is no safeguard protecting them from the metal frame and exposed locking mechanisms which can cause substantial injury.
During my tenure as a flight attendant assigned to passenger safety and for greeting passengers as they board, I have witnessed several passengers striking their forehead or top of their cranium before I could warn them. I have had a need, on more than one occasion, to make use of the on board first-aid kit to assist passengers with cuts, bumps and open area bleeding caused by this exposed metal. I recall one occasion when a passenger hit his head so hard he collapsed and medical personnel had to be called; it wasn't the last occurrence, and the bio-hazard is another issue that we must consider caused by the passenger entryway.
The injury possibility is greater at terminals that do not offer a gate for the aircraft. This means passengers must board using the aircraft stairs which are narrow and steep. A passenger that has hit their head has no place to fall but back, which not only causes injury to them, but to passengers on the stairs behind them. When regional aircraft use the jet bridge it doesn't fit up to the aircraft correctly and the use of a connecting· bridge has to be used. The connecting bridge has a three to six inch rise in the center which is the cause of passengers hitting the top of their head even more than the use of the air stairs. The connecting bridge is narrow and often wobbly causing the passengers to focus downward therefore they walk into the overhead of the passenger entryway, which is the cause for even more passenger injuries.
It has come time for us to all take action before anymore injuries occur and before legal actions regarding negligence ensue. We must do something to reduce any further injuries to anymore passengers and crew members by mandating the use of the head guard device before our failures are noticed in the legal court system.
The device being proposed for immediate use would greatly diminish the potential for anymore catastrophic events. A passenger that may feel rushed would be greeted by a cushioned reminder versus a cut which creates a biohazard in a very public venue, or worse. The economic cost of this device is far less than the potential cost of not having it, when you consider this cost to be less than a penny per passenger.
I personally believe that a device such as this is far overdue.
To Whom It May Concern:
As a pilot in the airline industry, safety is always the main priority of operating an aircraft and providing a service to the flying public. There are many things that the entire crew is required to perform prior, during, and after every flight to maintain a safe environment on and around the aircraft.
I have noticed a "safety" flaw on all regional jet aircraft, as well as many other types of commercial aircraft that are used in the passenger industry. This safety flaw is the height of the passenger cabin door and the average height of the flying public. I have witnessed several passengers hit their heads on the top of the cabin door either while boarding or de-boarding the aircraft. I have also struck my head on the top of the door which is very painful and very easy to do even though you know it's there. Beside the fact that this event is painful and even embarrassing at times it is also a threat to safety regarding a bio-hazard of blood in a public place or an injury that can create more serious medical problems hours or days later.
The device being proposed in this package would greatly diminish the potential for anymore catastrophic events. A passenger that may feel pain would be greeted by a cushioned reminder versus a cut; biohazard in public, or worse. The economic cost of this device is far less than the potential cost of not having it when you consider less than a penny per passenger.
The aircraft cabin door is made out of metal and some have sharp corners and other various metal parts that lock and secure the door. These door locks protrude out from the door just enough to create more of a hazard when hit with your head. Knowing the problem, there is a definite need for a solution to maintain the integrity of safety. I feel strong enough about this problem that it should be a requirement for all passenger service aircraft operators to address this issue and the FAA to execute an immediate regulation to force passenger carriers to use and utilize the head guard protection device on aircraft with low threshold clearance.
Jason N. King