Gliders and Seatbelts

"There's just the two of you, and there is a vomit bag."

Gliders and Seatbelts

THERE'S a connection between quiet planes with no engine, and the revolutionary car safety feature, but what is it?

Sam put the question to Dave and Glenn.

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DAVE: "Seatbelts are interesting. They come up a lot now, because of vaccines.

"When people say they're protesting against the vaccines, others say, there were people who protested against seatbelts back in the day, which was true, I looked it up."

GLENN: "What was the reason for that? If you went into water, or you wanted to get out quickly because it was on fire...?"

DAVE: "I think it's like the vaccine. People don't like being told what to do.

"In America, people were cutting them out of the cars."

GLENN: "Oh, really?"

DAVE: "America is the home of, 'you don't tell me what to do'."

GLENN: "I think it was around the '70s, wasn't it? Victoria led the race, being the first to make it compulsory to have seatbelts.

"I can't remember if it was just a lap one or a full three-pointer, over the shoulder, down to your right hip and left hip...

"I remember seeing a sports car and going, 'oh, that's really fancy, it's got a lap safety belt.'

"I thought it was because it was a convertible and if you didn't have a seatbelt on, you'd fly out of the car."

DAVE: "Ha ha! You're right, Victoria was the first place in the world to make it compulsory. 1971 I think it was.

(Fact check alert! It was 1970)

"It was amazing. Victoria led the way."

GLENN: "Do you reckon there's still a number of people who don't put them on? I reckon there are.

"All the cars talk to you now, don't they."

DAVE: "There's a comic called Steve Hughes... An Australian who lived in England, very funny man.

"He does a routine... They're still telling us to put the seatbelts on, but didn't the 'ding, ding, ding' solve that?"

GLENN: "Bong! Bong!"

DAVE: "It's true! Mine starts off going, 'ding...ding...' and then it gets a bit more frantic; 'come on, put it on, put it on!'

"I feel naked without a seatbelt on."

GLENN: "That's true."

DAVE: "Like on a bus!"

GLENN: "I don't get it. What's the deal with that? Some of the big ones, the plush ones do, and I go, I'm puttin' it on.

"All I know is, if you hit something, I'm flying over the top of that bloke in front of me, and I don't want that to happen. I'm goin' with the seatbelt.

"It went lap first, a three-pointer, and up from that - which I had in the Celebrity Grand Prix - is the full racing harness over both shoulders.

"It's really tight, it snaps in, and it's really good."

DAVE: "On the plane, how come hostie and the air stewards sit down and they've got better seatbelts than us?"

GLENN: "Yes, they have! They have three-pointers.

"I know it's been pointed out in stand-up before, but they do show you every time..."

DAVE: "How to put a seatbelt in."

GLENN: "...and who hasn't been round for the past 40 years and not known to pull the latch.

"Having said that, it's gone from latch to button... in the car..."

DAVE: "Of course, they're all plastic in the car these days, but back in our day, they were metal.

"Remember on a hot day you'd get in the Holden or Ford, put it on and it would burn into your skin."

GLENN: "Yeah, if you had bathers on and came back from the beach, the hot latch... Nothing worse."

DAVE: "I remember Rosso did a routine about getting the Holden symbol like a brand on your stomach because it would burn into your skin."

GLENN: "The strap that they make the seatbelt from, they must have got it right the first time, because it's basically the same now.

"Is there any give in it, what's the deal?"

DAVE: "I don't know what material it is, but it's incredible. Seatbelts save lives by keeping you in your seat."

GLENN: "Our Audi - okay, get over it - has a very reassuring thing. You pull it down, click it in, and it does this automatic tighten thing.

"It goes, 'zzz, zzz,' and pulls back. The car's saying, 'I got ya, no problem at all.' You go, oh, that feels nice and snug now."


DAVE: "Well, gliders. I don't know much about gliders.

"When the allies had to win Holland from the Nazis in World War Two... for some reason, they used gliders to land their troops.

GLENN: "So there must be big gliders, seriously."

DAVE: "They were towed by planes, and then they'd let them go and they would land with several troops...

"Why did they use gliders in the war?"

GLENN: "It's obviously because they're silent. It would have to be. Everyone's going to hear a plane coming.

"If you come in during the night..."

DAVE: "True, they were small groups of soldiers in this movie."

GLENN: "I've been gliding.

DAVE: "Wow, where?"

GLENN: "Central Victoria because apparently the weather's a bit more stable, but it was a birthday present and my mates took me up there.

"They strap you in, there's just the two of you, massive wingspan, you're dragged along the ground, and suddenly you go up.

"There's just the two of you, and there is a vomit bag.

"You go up, and that feels like a normal plane, because you're hearing an engine, birds are going past, you see a couple of UFOs.

"Then what's interesting is when they cut you loose. Then you just hear, whooshhhh... Me breaking wind.

"Sorry... No, it's just silence, absolute silence. All you hear is the wind over the wings and you fly like a bird.

"It's using an updraught isn't it? It's rising air."

DAVE: "They just look so peaceful. Is it scary?"

GLENN: "It could be scary. I certainly didn't find it scary.

"A plane has a heavy engine... but with a glider, unless the wings fall off, you're going to glide back down."

DAVE: "You don't see many glider accidents on the news."


Glenn was keen to hear Steve Hughes' "targeting seatbelt use" bit Dave mentioned earlier in the episode... Ding ding ding!

Glenn felt he'd "nailed it" with his guess that gliders are pulled up into the air by the same material they use to make seatbelts.

Dave thought seatbelts and gliders might have been invented at the same time.

Sir George Cayley invented the the seatbelt, and the glider; the first gliding airplane that could carry a human.

The seatbelt was fitted in his first glider which was in the 19th century, but didn't catch on in automobiles until the mid-20th.

In 1959, the Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin developed the modern three-point seatbelt.

Although the design was patented, the company decided the patent was to be left open, making it available to all vehicle manufacturers to use for free.

This is the most basic version of the three-point seatbelts we still have in our cars today.

In 1970, the state of Victoria was the first jurisdiction on earth to pass mandatory seatbelt laws, and according to the TAC, this policy has saved thousands of lives.

The state's road roll dropped 13 per cent between 1970 and 1971.

Dave mentioned the anti-authoritarian attitudes - likened to the anti-vax movement - which arose as mandatory seatbelt laws passed across the world.

Here's an example from the early-80s!


The robot's voice comes from Google Home. They're pretty good.

Original theme music by Kit Warhurst.

Artwork created by Stacy Gougoulis.

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