NASA Contributes to Helicopter Design
By Dialogo September 10, 2013
NASA engineers dropped a helicopter’s fuselage from a height of 30 feet, as part of a project aimed at improving helicopter safety.
NASA said that the Sea Knight CH-46 helicopter collision test was one of the most ambitious ones made at Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, Virginia.
The helicopter, loaded with three collision test dummies, was elevated 30 feet in the air and dropped to the ground at a speed of 30 miles per hour, while 40 high-speed cameras were recording the event that represented a severe, but not fatal, collision, according to engineers.
The cameras, which record 500 images per second, allowed researchers to figure out the way in which the fuselage would bend, brake or collapse on impact.
NASA is collaborating with the U.S. Navy, Army and Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to improving security, engineers want to increase industrial knowledge and create more complete computer models that may be used to design better helicopters.
The final goal is to contribute to the efficiency and speed of helicopters and other vertical launch vehicles, as well as making them quieter and less polluting.