NASA Audio File

NASA Engineers Crash Helicopter for Research
12.11.09
 
Engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are working to make helicopters safer. They crash tested a small helicopter, provided by the Army and equipped with four crash test dummies, from a gantry once used to teach astronauts how to land on the moon.

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TRT: 1:24

Karen E. Jacksont
Aerospace Engineer

CUT 1 (:42) – Jackson: We had three main objectives; the first objective was to evaluate the performance of a composite honeycomb energy absorber under realistic crash conditions. And then the second objective was to generate test data so that we could validate a system integrated simulation that we developed and we generated pretest predictions from. And then the third was to generate data from a special dummy that we had on board called a human surrogate torso model. It’s a more accurate representation of the human anatomy than a typical crash test dummy. So we wanted to get data on soft tissue injury.
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CUT 2 (:28) – Jackson: One of the problems that we have with the legacy fleet is that many aircraft that are out there flying now were not designed to meet crash readiness criteria. And so, what do you? How do you fix them? Do you retrofit them, generally that is very costly and it generally ads weight to the airframe. One of the concepts is to look at exterior deployed systems like either airbags or this concept we tested today as a way of providing energy attenuation without adding a lot of weight…
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CUT 3 (:16) – Jackson: I’d like to. I'd like to think that the research that we’re doing is going to end up in airframes that will potentially save lives and that gives you a nice feeling very rewarding, very satisfying.
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