Tech

August 21, 2013

NASA crashes helicopter to study safety

NASA researchers will drop a 45-foot-long helicopter fuselage from a height of about 30 feet to test improved seat belts and seats and advance experimental techniques and crashworthiness data.

News media representatives are invited to observe the drop test, scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 28, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. U.S. media members must email Kathy Barnstorff at kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov or call 757-864-9886 for credentials no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27. Researchers will be available for interviews after the test.

NASA is collaborating with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and Federal Aviation Administration on the Transport Rotorcraft Airframe Crash Test Bed full-scale crash tests at Langley’s Landing and Impact Research Facility.

“We have instrumented a former Marine helicopter airframe with cameras and accelerometers,” said lead test engineer Martin Annett. “Almost 40 cameras inside and outside the helicopter will record how 13 crash test dummies react before, during and after impact.”

During the test, onboard computers will record more than 350 channels of data as the helicopter is swung by cables, like a pendulum, into a bed of soil. Just before impact, pyrotechnic devices release the suspension cables from the helicopter to allow free flight. The helicopter will hit the ground at about 30 mph. The impact condition represents a severe but survivable condition under both civilian and military requirements.

For the first time ever in any test, technicians installed a video game motion sensor in the helicopter. “We want to see if it is useful as an additional way to track the movements of the dummies,” said test engineer Justin Littell.

The outside of the fuselage also is new for this test. Technicians painted one entire side in black polka dots over a white background — a photographic technique called full field photogrammetry. Each dot represents a data point. High-speed cameras filming at 500 images per second track each dot, so after over the drop researchers can plot and see exactly how the fuselage buckled, bent, cracked or collapsed under crash loads.

Another crash test of a similar helicopter equipped with additional technology, including composite airframe retrofits, is planned for next year. Both tests are part of the Rotary Wing Project in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

The Navy provided the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter fuselages, seats, crash test dummies and other experiments for the test. The Army contributed a litter experiment with a crash test dummy. The Federal Aviation Administration provided a side-facing specialized crash test dummy and part of the data acquisition system. Cobham Life Support-St. Petersburg, a division of CONAX Florida Corporation, also contributed an active restraint system for the cockpit.

NASA will use the results of both tests in efforts to improve rotorcraft performance and efficiency, in part by assessing the reliability of high performance, lightweight composite materials. Researchers also want to increase industry knowledge and create more complete computer models that can be used to design better helicopters.

The ultimate goal of NASA rotary wing research is to help make helicopters and other vertical take-off and landing vehicles more serviceable — able to carry more passengers and cargo — quicker, quieter, safer and greener. Improved designs might allow helicopters to be used more extensively in the airspace system.
The following address for a live-stream will be activated just prior to the test:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/NASA-lrc
For more information about NASA Aeronautics research, go to:
http://aeronautics.nasa.gov




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>