A SIDEWAYS LOOK
Having been involved in aviation crash testing for many years, I was interested to read Dave Barham’s article on the safe transportation of air cylinders. As Dave points out, the most vulnerable is the valve and we should endeavour to protect it, no matter how we transport our cylinders.
My main interest is the protection of the vehicle occupants from what becomes an unguided missile approaching from the behind in the event of a crash. It is impossible to cover every situation, so let’s imagine we have a 5-litre, 20lb cylinder, unrestrained, in a car travelling at 30mph, which hits a solid object like a wall. Even with crumple zones the impact is likely to produce a deceleration of something like 15g. At some point, the cylinder now effectively weighs 300lbs (20x15) and if not in contact with the seat back, will continue to travel at 30mph until it comes into contact with something solid, which could be the back of your head!
If, as in Dave’s last photograph the cylinder is placed end on to the seat back, it presents a fairly small surface area to the seat back and could easily punch it’s way
Through, but if it is placed parallel to the seat back it has a larger contact area which, as the seat back deforms, might be enough to retain it in the boot. In either case, having the cylinder in contact with the seat back will reduce the possibility of it accelerating forward as the vehicle slows down.
I am sure there are some airgunners who are involved with automotive crash testing and are more knowledgeable on the subject of unrestrained objects in cars.
I only wish to point out the potential danger in which we could unwittingly be placing ourselves. Great magazine. TONY WOODWARD