Air Safety Cards are Pretty/Make a Water Landing Seem Plausibly Survivable

While typically the law-abiding sort, I am only a human, meaning that I am a twitching bundle of nerves and idea juice that leaps and shivers in reaction to the stimulation that comes beaming in my sensory portholes.  As such, I find myself unable to be anything less than a criminal when confronted with an airline safety card.  Something about their bland universalism, firm guiding arrows and t-square born graphic design makes my palms itch, my hairline sweat and my zipper lower.  On my in-flight carry-on, that is.

In accordance with it’s primary purpose, the internet is there to let me know that I’m not alone in my criminal deviation.  Even outside of the aviation memorabilia/ex-pilot nostalgia parts of town, there’s plenty of straight up freaks for airline safety cards.

  • All Safety Cards has about 30 safety cards from European and Russian airlines.  Some good variety in the design there but certain universal elements (blank stares at disaster, a minimum of decoration or detail) remain.  The scans are a little small so don’t expect to be able to read the text or use these for your dirty little Photoshopping binges.
  • Cabin Safety International actually makes the cards and offers collectors the opportunity to buy them legitimately.  They have a pretty extensive sample section on their site and a request page for ordering.
  • Planespotter’s archive has over 16,000 scans in their collection with contributors worldwide keeping it current.  However, the scans seem to be mostly small and of medium quality, giving you the look and feel but none of that close up daily drama of burning plane land.
  • If you’re looking for a big ball of analog safety card pleasures, can’t go wrong with Design for Impact: Fifty Years of Airline Safety Cards, a look at the design elements of the genre in a standard art book format.  Currently selling for as little as six bucks used over at Amazon.
  • And there’s the obligatory Yahoo group for airline card collectors.  You’ve got to join to see any of the good stuff, unfortunately.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something about Airtoons, a webcomic that tacks the necessary captions on to the graphics we know and love.

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