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NASA Helicopter Crash Test is a Smash Hit
March 12, 2010

NASA engineers are working to make helicopters safer. For the second time they equipped a small lightweight helicopter with instruments and four crash test dummies and dropped it from a gantry at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

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Martin Annett
Aerospace Engineer, NASA Langley Research Center

Cut 1 (:28)  - "The facility that we have here at NASA is very unique … there's none like it in this country and the ability to marry that with the analysis types of things that are used all over in a lot of the different crashworthiness fields is kind of unique here. This is a once in a lifetime place I would say as far as being able to do full scale testing and at the same time develop very detailed models."
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Cut 2 (:17) – "We have a lot of data collection. We have accelerometers that measure the acceleration. We have video cameras that will measure the actual conditions at impact, the velocities, the attitude at impact. We also have load cells on the crash test dummies."
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Cut 3 (:15) -   "It's exciting and it's also very challenging. There are a lot of things that we do not understand about the injury mechanism within helicopter occupants for sure and this is one of the places where we can study this type of work."
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Karen Jackson
Senior Aerospace Engineer

Cut 4 (:10)  -  We see that the skid gear is swayed out and deformed. Both seats, the passenger seats and the crew seats, failed. We see some buckling.
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Cut 5 (:05)  - What we're trying to do is to look at what is considered a survivable impact.
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Cut 6 (:20)  - The testing is needed because even though our models are good, they're not good enough so we can't qualify or certify a helicopter for crashworthiness based on analysis only at this point. So the testing is going to tell us whether or not this helicopter would have been certified for crashworthiness standards.
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Page Last Updated: January 14th, 2014
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