The problem is that irrespective of the lap belt being fastened, I was held in by the shoulder strap to left side lap belt portion, and it is an over center T pin to couple. So were I to be hanging up side down in the aircraft, releasing the lap belt buckle would not set me free. And indeed, only removing my suspended weight from the remaining shoulder to lap belt would allow me to release it - it cannot be released under load.
This might be an "original" configuration, though I have not seen one in a long time. In any case, Cessna owners should seriously consider if this arrangement is acceptable to them - it certainly would not be to me. Perhaps some could have the lap belt changed left for right, but in this case that would not work, as the lap belt to tang was sewn, and much too short. I like four point harnesses, which completely release with the lap belt buckle only (Hooker Harness is one example). But at least an arrangement where one action releases you completely. If you examine your system, and find that the shoulder harness still restrains you with the lap belt released, at least place a seatbelt cutter within easy reach....
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Is the buckle design such that buckle halves could have been mixed up when being re-webbed? If the person reinstalling didn’t know any better, they could easily just bolt them in as received and carry on, none the wiser.
Not sure if this is the same self but it reminded me about this fatal accident.
http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-repor ... 109.asp#a3
The aircraft was fitted with Cessna model S2070H-16 front lap belt and shoulder harness assemblies. Although not considered a factor in the occurrence, two design discrepancies were identified that could have impeded rapid release of the harness assembly and hamper occupant escape from the aircraft. On this belt assembly it is possible to mistake the latch handle frame for the latch handle itself, and for occupants to insert their fingers under the frame and pull on the frame rather than the latch handle when attempting to release the buckle. This could confuse occupants in an emergency and delay the release of the buckle.
In addition, the lap belt length adjustment is on the latch side of the buckle and the short, fixed strap is on the tongue side of the buckle. The shoulder strap engages in a slot in the tongue and the short, fixed lap strap holds the shoulder strap in the diagonal position across the front of the occupant. Because the belt is mounted with the tongue of the latch on the opposite side of the occupant relative to the shoulder strap, releasing the lap belt loosens but does not release the shoulder strap. The occupant must then either disengage the shoulder strap separately from the lap belt or crawl out from under the shoulder strap to get out of the seat.
The design of the lap belt and shoulder harness assemblies was changed in 1975 with the introduction of the S2275 style assembly. On the new assembly the latch tongue and the shoulder strap are connected and oriented on the same side of the occupant, and releasing the latch releases the lap belt and the shoulder strap in one motion. As well the latch part of the buckle is attached to the lap belt in a manner that precludes occupants from placing their fingers under the latch handle when releasing the buckle. Between 21 July 2000 and 7 December 2000, the operator removed the old S2070H-16 style seat belt and shoulder harness assemblies from the other three Cessna 177B Cardinals in the fleet and installed the S2275 harness assemblies.