Do you have an interest in racing safety?  Are you attending the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) in Indianapolis this week?  If so then you are in luck as Mike Ross, MasterCraft Safety’s Director of Technology, will be delivering a presentation entitled “Suspension Seats for Protection During Downward Vehicle Impact” at 3:15 Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 7th.  Ross has designed seating and restraint solutions for helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, military vehicles and most recently for the off-road market.  In addition to his terrestrial work, Mike Ross has worked with NASA to design restraint systems for on orbit use for the US Manned Space Program. Following the presentation, Mike will answer safety questions as part of a panel of experts chaired by fellow safety authority Dr. John Melvin, who retired from General Motors in 1998 after 40 years as a biomedical scientist for automobile safety and since turned his attention to making NASCAR safer.

Ross will explain how crashes have been well documented in many ways, but somewhat lacking with regards to the force imparted into the body during a severe downward impact and attenuation of this force.  Occupants of off-road racing vehicles are routinely subjected to impacts to the body resulting in force in the +Z axis. This force can be seen not only during crashes but also during normal desert and short course racing when the vehicles are going over jumps or through “whoops”.  The same energy  can also be seen during rollover events and this force can lead to broken clavicles (collar bones) and compression injuries to the spine.  This presentation will explore how energy attenuating seats address this problem. In conjunction with seating technology, the relationship between the seat, the seat occupant, and the optimal mounting position for t he restraint system will be explored.

If you are unable to attend the IMIS Safety and Technical Conference and would like further information on this subject please contact MasterCraft Safety Media Contact Kelli Willmore at

Mike Ross has over 35 years of Human Factors design experience and also attended Massey Business College where he studied Mechanical Design.  Ross has an impressive resume which includes work in the aeronautical and the aerospace and defense industries and has held notable positions with companies such as Aerospatiale Helicopter, Grumman Houston, Grumman Space and Electronics, Stewart & Stevenson and MasterCraft Safety. Mike has also worked as the Engineering Lead and Design Manager for programs such as the Space Station Freedom Restraints and Mobility Aids and the US Army Low Signature Armored Cab (LSAC) program.  Ross’ awards include Space Station Freedom Award of Merit, Grumman SPARK Award, and two Stewart & Steven Exceptional Performance Awards and has been granted a US Patent for his work on the LSAC.

Mike Ross has officially been employed by MasterCraft Safety for three years however his relationship with the company began during his tenure with Stewart and Stevenson.  While working on the design for the LSAC, Ross approached MasterCraft to test their line of energy attenuating seats.  After testing and validation, Ross became a believer in the product and integrated the seats into the design of of the LSAC.  He was such a strong advocate of the MasterCraft Safety seat that Ross gave up retirement in 2008 to accept his current Director of Technology position with the company.  Mike Ross’ current research involves injury prevention during severe vehicle slam down or under vehicle explosion.

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