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Author Topic: Halo Seats Safe?
Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Yes and no.

Aluminum is easy to deal with. You pick the right gauge, finish the edges properly, reinforce the right places and you pretty much know what you've got.

Composites can be stronger pound for pound and you can optimize the design a whole lot better since you can tailor the thickness, fiber direction, and do complex curves much easier. Doing it right takes much more know how. You can either throw material at the problem or get really scientific with it.

Really stout aluminum seats tend to be built like a tank. Reinforced out the ying yang and rigid as all hell. Composites done right allow you to design something that acts more like a catch net than a k-wall and can be safer since they allow the sudden shock of impact to be distributed rather than just contained.

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

TillerTech
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Interesting findings today.
I attended a "race car safety seminar" by Stand21 and Dr. Melvin.

The subject of seats is quite a hotbed, the FIA spec being uprated and the SFI working on specs for the US made aluminum seats. The LaJoie seats are wonderful, I don't think will fit inside the Miata though. However, an interesting finding, the alum seats with the flimsy side protection (head and shoulder) when used alone are pretty much worthless. But, when used properly with the right side net provides quite a bit of protection and one bonus, when the side supports are bent out of the way, you can exit through the passenger side(fire). try that with one of the full containment seats.

Also interesting, 9 point harnesses. Some of the Nascar guys are doing it with great results. Watch the F1 race and see if you can tell when they buckle in.

Also helmets and suit improvements in the ratings. Massa's life was saved by the Schruber helmet and FIA specs.

J

--------------------
Miata Race glass and CF from Legacy Molds. 4 1/2# CF Hood
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ChrisA
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quote:
Originally posted by TillerTech:
Interesting findings today.
I attended a "race car safety seminar" by Stand21 and Dr. Melvin...
Also helmets and suit improvements in the ratings. Massa's life was saved by the Schruber helmet and FIA specs.

J

I thought some of the new FIA helmet specs were due to Massa's accident to help lessen the damage seen in his helmet.

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Chris

"Nothing can be simple. Everything's got to be a pain in the ass." - C. Adams

TillerTech
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yes, the current spec was updated to add more stringent penetration/shell strength. I believe the prior spec was dated 2004 with an update in '08 0r '09.

The current shell strength is pretty high, requiring something like 6mm of CF. The penetrator test criteria went from 3 m to 5 m and increased the weight of the probe. I think the 2004 had the weight increase and the 2010 added the distance.

J

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Miata Race glass and CF from Legacy Molds. 4 1/2# CF Hood
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omg
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I have been upside down in my Miata, non halo seat,side vent window removed, unable to open doors,
Hans device, I am 5'8, 170. It was a bitch getting out with EMS help. If I had a halo seat I question how I would have been able to. It is quite simple to see if you can if you have a Halo seat, get in and try to get out without opening your door. We have tried this at the track and it was not possible for some drivers to do. I know some people say if you have to get out you will find a way talk to EMS that is not always true. Now add the fact that you may be upside down, I lot different perspective.

With that said, I have a Halo seat in my MX5 Cup car with a right side net that is wrapped around the back of the drivers seat on the roll cage, very tight when done properly.

Not passing judgement but try getting out if you have a halo seat w/o opening your door. Good luck

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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The flip side of that argument is first you must survive the crash before escaping the car is an issue. It's a trade off.

On one hand, with more protection you're less likely to be injured making the next problem getting out of the car.

On the other hand, with less protection, there's an easier escape path but you could sustain an injury that prevents you from escaping anyway, which might have been prevented with a containment seat.

Neither one is a slam dunk.

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Mark Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Interesting discussion. The NASA CCR specifies a time limit for the driver getting out with both the door open and door closed. Something like 10s with door open, 15s with door closed. I can't recall for sure. I know of at least one instance where this performance was verified for an annual tech. No way, no how, are most SM drivers getting out through the drivers window with a halo seat in time, HANS or not, Vent window or not. SM's are not alone in this regard. Personally I'd rather be alive and be able to try and extract myself, rather than mortally wounded knowing that if I could move I might be able to crawl out the window. A personal call I think. After racing with a halo seat I don't think I could go back to a non halo seat and give up the added security a halo seat provides even if it meant I *might* be able to climb out the window.

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Mark
http://www.ironcanyonmotorsports.com

SCCA_Racer
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Ok, I know this has been debated in other threads on back bracing for FIA seats. My questions for you guys is about once a FIA seat reaches 5 years old if you add a seat back brace then how much longer could you use the seat?

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Joshua Fine
SCCA member 323214 since 2003
Novice Permit in 2010
Racing 2011

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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As long as you feel comfortable that you're running with tired, modified safety gear, it's good forever.

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I'm going to make a point here, so excuse me if it's blunt.

I've seen people question many times about belts, helmets, seats, nets, etc. how long it's safe to use them past the expiration date.

The guys who design them aren't exactly idiots. The guys who set the rules aren't exactly idiots either. They're generally well educated individuals who do it for a living and take their job very seriously. Hard not to when you know you have other people's safety in the trust of your decision making process.

If you want to ask random people on the interweb what's safe beyond what the safety professionals have put put their safety stamp on...might be best to reconsider your decision making process.

Just saying...

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

SCCA_Racer
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I understand Keith. I just was curious about the seat because the SCCA rulebooke as far as I can read has no expiration on the seat itself. However they have expiration on the safety belts listed in there.

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Joshua Fine
SCCA member 323214 since 2003
Novice Permit in 2010
Racing 2011

TillerTech
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Joshua,

you are correct, SCCA doesn't check expiration dates on seats or fuel cells. It is up to you to police this in your own car. And as someone mentioned, it is your decision to race with dated materials. I don't even want to mention the guy who crashes and doesn't have his helmet checked (just puts another sticker over the paint).

But, I have to question the belt expiration policy, in other venues, the SFI belts are good for 5 years the same as the FIA.

John

--------------------
Miata Race glass and CF from Legacy Molds. 4 1/2# CF Hood
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SCCA_Racer
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Alright I have a really dumb question. Where did you guys see a expiration listed for seats? I email a manufacture and they did give me an expiration date on their seats as they said it is up to the sanctioning body. Like I said dumb question where did you find the expiration for the seats?

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Joshua Fine
SCCA member 323214 since 2003
Novice Permit in 2010
Racing 2011

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by SCCA_Racer:
Alright I have a really dumb question. Where did you guys see a expiration listed for seats? I email a manufacture and they did give me an expiration date on their seats as they said it is up to the sanctioning body. Like I said dumb question where did you find the expiration for the seats?

FIA seats have a date of manufacture. FIA requires replacement of composite seats after 5 years. NASA follows suit. SCCA doesn't comment on the subject at all, leaving it up to you (so far).

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

TillerTech
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Joshua,

If you have a FIA rated seat, it will have a large yellow/gold sticker on the side.
FIA 9911-1999(year)
with a manufactured date (month and year).
should be good for 5 years if not involved with a crash, can be returned to factory for inspection and extended date by 2 or 3 years.

John

--------------------
Miata Race glass and CF from Legacy Molds. 4 1/2# CF Hood
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SCCA_Racer
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John,
I checked with the seat manufacture and the cost in shipping for re-certification would be more than just buying a new seat. Also the manufacture offered a new FIA certified seat which is good for 10 year instead of the standard 5 years.

--------------------
Joshua Fine
SCCA member 323214 since 2003
Novice Permit in 2010
Racing 2011

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by SCCA_Racer:
John,
I checked with the seat manufacture and the cost in shipping for re-certification would be more than just buying a new seat. Also the manufacture offered a new FIA certified seat which is good for 10 year instead of the standard 5 years.

Will the sanctioning bodies allow this?

... and which company is this?

--------------------
Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

TillerTech
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Joshua,

yes, the new FIA spec is available.
Good for 10 years and should have a rear brace.

As I understand it, the old spec without the rear brace would start to fracture around the mounting holes and eventually fail.

If the sanctioning body doesn't require any spec on a seat, why would they not allow the new FIA spec/rating?

John

John

--------------------
Miata Race glass and CF from Legacy Molds. 4 1/2# CF Hood
http://www.jnent.net

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by TillerTech:
Joshua,

yes, the new FIA spec is available.
Good for 10 years and should have a rear brace.

As I understand it, the old spec without the rear brace would start to fracture around the mounting holes and eventually fail.

If the sanctioning body doesn't require any spec on a seat, why would they not allow the new FIA spec/rating?

John

John

I read the new spec a few months ago, but didn't think any reasonably priced seats fitting that spec were out yet. I'd love to know which seats meet the new spec. I know the upper line Racetech does...

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

TillerTech
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Kent,

I would be careful about fitting the new seats into a SpecMiata, there just isn't that much room. You should be able to get out of the car through the window.

I recently attended a seminar by Dr. John Melvin, who has been studing race car safety. He had some very good video and test results. One item he was looking seriously at was the seats and supports. One suggestion about seats was the alum sheet type (with semi flimsy head supports) in conjunction with the inside net.
As a benefit, you could release the net and finish off the side support and exit on the passenger side. They had the in car video of the Danny Thompson crash at Bonneville this year. The car lifted off at about 260mph and flew over 1000 ft. He is alive today because of the Hans device. It was the 3rd or 4th impact that really tossed him around.

John

--------------------
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Dave Stevens
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quote:
Originally posted by TillerTech:
The LaJoie seats are wonderful, I don't think will fit inside the Miata though.

He does sprint, Legends, Alisons, kart and midget seats as well. All custom. Shouldn't be a big deal to get one in an SM. If he can fit one in a Legend, he can fit one in an SM. To my knowledge they haven't built an SM seat so you'd probably want to take a caged tub the their shop. They are all custom, fit to the driver. Expect to pay a couple grand or so. I got a quote for a basic seat for the hobby stock a year or so ago and it was just over 1500. Butler might be able to do the same thing but they're also pretty circle track specific. Both will be an IMIS and PRI for those that might be interested.

--------------------
The 2011 Money Furnace
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SeanH88
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Check out the classified section under accessories for a new SpecMiata specific seat I have designed to address some of these issues.

I don't want to violate the advertising policy, so if you have questions PM me and I will answer what I can. This seat will NOT be cheap and will not be for everyone but I got tired of trying to get a safe and comfortable seat into a SpecMiata that didn't require a bunch of work to mount it and add a bunch of weight to the drivers side of the car.

Daniels/Drago - Sorry if I've violated the ad policy, please delete if necessary.

As far as the time it takes to get out of a car with full gear on buckled in etc, I think it is extremely important and often overlooked.

For the NW region for the 2011 season we are taking a car that is totaled and using it on select race weekends and SM Clinics to time all the SM drivers that want to test their skills on how quickly they can get out of the car. We will be installing 2 video cameras inside the car to video each driver and see if we can find a best practice as far as movements and sequences to get out of the vehicle. This tub we are using is on a rotisserie so we can actually perform the same competition with the vehicle upside down. We will be using a common helmet so drivers wont damage theirs getting in and out and will be starting with both hands on the wheel and asking the driver to kill the ignition with the key as part of the exit requirement. We will be using both door open and door closed scenarios to see how everyone does.

There are a lot of little things that get overlooked when building a car that will slow you down when you need to get out in a hurry and I think we may find a few more after this exercise. We will share the video and our experiences so hopefully we can pass along some lessons learned.

Thanks.... Sean

 
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