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.


 
 

 
University of Rhode Island photograph by Tom Glennon

NASA kicks off field campaign to probe ocean ecology, carbon cycle

University of Rhode Island photograph by Tom Glennon The Research Vessel Endeavor is the floating laboratory that scientists will use for the ocean-going portion of the SABOR field campaign this summer. NASA embarks this week o...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

NASA’s high-flying laser altimeter to check out summer sea ice, more

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas This summer, the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar, or MABEL, will fly above Alaska and the Arctic Ocean on one of NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude aircraft. Sea ice in summer looks dramatica...
 
 
SOFIA

Outer space to inner space: SOFIA inside Lufthansa Technik hangar

NASA photograph by Jeff Doughty NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is shown inside the Lufthansa Technik hangar in Hamburg, Germany where it is beginning its decadal inspection. Flight, aircraft maint...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tony Landis

New life for an old bird: NASA’s F-15B test bed gets new engines

NASA photograph NASA’s F-15B flight research test bed carries shuttle thermal insulation panels on its underbelly during a research flight in 2005. NASA Armstrong’s F-15B aeronautics research test bed, a workhorse at th...
 
 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

Towed glider benefits from center’s new 3-D printer capability

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida The major components of NASA Armstrong’s new high-resolution 3-D additive manufacturing printer occupy a shelf in the center’s subscale aircraft research lab. Robert “Red” ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Emmett Given

NASA completes testing on 3-D printer

NASA photograph by Emmett Given United Space Alliance engineer Cynthia Azzarita, left, and Boeing Company engineer Chen Deng, members of the Human Factors Integration Team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, conduct a “...
 




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>