NASA Does Helicopter Crash Test

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Anybody who says NASA researchers don't know how to have a smashing good time has not met a team at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. They are test engineers whose job it is to make aircraft safer by crashing them. In late August those engineers plan to drop a 45-foot long helicopter fuselage from about 30 feet to test improved seat belts and seats and to collect crashworthiness data. NASA is collaborating with the Navy, Army and Federal Aviation Administration on the Transport Rotorcraft Airframe Crash Testbed full-scale crash tests at NASA Langley's Landing and Impact Research (LandIR) Facility. The August drop test is one of the most complicated and ambitious aircraft crash experiments at NASA Langley in recent memory. "We have instrumented a former Marine helicopter airframe with cameras and accelerometers," said lead test engineer Martin Annett. "Almost 40 cameras inside and outside of the helicopter will record how 13 crash test dummies react before, during and after impact. Onboard computers will also record more than 350 channels of data."

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