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'Successful' NASA chopper crash test may revolutionise safety in flight

Washington, August 29 : Engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, successfully gathered data from a Marine CH-46E helicopter fuselage that it dropped with 15 dummy occupants inside from a height of 30 feet to test improved seats and seatbelts for determining the odds of surviving a helicopter crash.


They used cables to hoist the helicopter fuselage with its mock passengers into the air and swing it to the ground, much like a pendulum.

It was travelling at 30 mph when pyrotechnic devices separated the cables and let the fuselage hit the soil at Langley's Landing and Impact Research Facility.

Researchers used the cameras as well as onboard computers, which data from 350 instrumentation points, to record every move of the 10,300-pound aircraft and its contents.

The helicopter's unusual black-and-white-speckled paint job -- a photographic technique called full field photogrammetry -- also aided in the data collection effort.

This was the first of two planned tests using Navy-provided CH-46E Sea Knight fuselages. A similar helicopter equipped with additional technology, including high-performance, lightweight composite airframe retrofits, will be used in a crash test next summer. Both are part of the Rotary Wing Project in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

NASA will use the results of both tests in efforts to improve rotorcraft performance and efficiency. Researchers also want to increase industry knowledge and create more complete computer models that can be used to design better and safer helicopters.

--ANI (Posted on 29-08-2013)

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