Workers access the top of a C-17 aircraft to perform maintenance on the aircraft while inside and outside of the hangers, exposing them to fall hazards of up to 65 feet.

Gravitec Systems' Aircraft Fall Protection Solutions
Gravitec Systems' Aircraft Fall Protection Solutions


The lanyard originally designed for fall protection was found to impose forces on the anchor that it wasn’t designed to withstand. Adjustment of the original lanyard was complicated, and once adjusted to its longest length it was never readjusted. In the event of a fall, the lanyard deployment allowed the worker to contact the ground while working on some areas of the aircraft.


Gravitec designed a specialty lanyard that had a high level of consistency with its deployment force, maximum arrest force and deployment length. Gravitec wrote a specification for the lanyard and developed a testing procedure for the pin and receptacle to verify its capabilities. Gravitec designed a method to adjust the lanyard from 7.5’ to 10’ quickly and easily. Gravitec worked through the compatibility issues between the lanyard and pin, and designed the lanyard so that the pin was an integral part of the system, which in turn reduced the loads on the pin and the receptacle.


The outcome was a lanyard system that was user-friendly and lowered the fall arrest forces on the anchor. Gravitec Systems was awarded the job because of our intimate knowledge of fall protection systems, standards and equipment as well as the ability to model and perform representative testing to identify issues and deliver documented results proving compliance.

Update: On January 23rd, 2008, Gravitec was contacted by the customer to inform us of an incident where an airman had fallen into the system, and that it had performed as designed and likely saved the airman’s life.