NASA to crash large helicopter to obtain safety data

Aug. 26, 2013 at 5:29 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

HAMPTON, Va., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- NASA says it will crash a helicopter in Virginia -- on purpose -- to test improved seat belts and seats and to collect crashworthiness data.

Engineers will drop the 45-foot long fuselage of a former U.S. Marine helicopter fuselage from about 30 feet at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., the space agency reported Monday.

The test is collaboration between NASA, the Navy, Army and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Langley's Landing and Impact Research Facility has an almost 50-year history, beginning as the Lunar Landing Research Facility where Neil Armstrong and other astronauts learned to land on the moon.

Following that it became a crash test facility where engineers could simulate aircraft accidents, and engineers recently added a large water pool where NASA is testing Orion space capsule mock-ups in anticipation of water landings.

The helicopter drop is a complicated and ambitious test, engineers said.

"We have instrumented a former Marine helicopter airframe with cameras and accelerometers," lead test engineer Martin Annett said. "Almost 40 cameras inside and outside of the helicopter will record how 13 crash test dummies react before, during and after impact. On-board computers will also record more than 350 channels of data."

High-speed filming of the crash will allow researchers to plot and see exactly how the fuselage buckled, bent, cracked or collapsed under crash loads, researchers said.

The Aug. 28 test crash will be streamed live on the Internet , NASA said, at

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories