On October 1, NASA researchers tried to simulate a helicopter crash.
Researchers gathered at the space agency’s Langley’s Landing and Impact Research facility alongside representatives from the military, as well as national and international government agencies, to drop a former Marine helicopter 30 feet to the ground.
The NASA drop test featured a Boeing CH-46 fuselage outfitted with almost 40 cameras inside and out, along with an additional 350 data channels recording the movement of aircraft.
Inside the helicopter were a further 13 crash-test dummies equipped with monitoring instruments, along with two non-instrumented manikins. The purpose of the test — which lasted only three seconds but took more than three years to prepare — was to aid in developing helicopters that are safer and more efficient, and to closely study the physics and dynamics of a common crash scenario.
The October 1 test drop is the successor to a nearly identical CH-46 drop that occurred in August 2013. In the most recent drop, NASA added a specially developed energy-absorbing passenger floor, as well as new seats and restraints.
NASA filmed the drop from a multitude of angles to document the test and to gather additional data. Here are some of the highlights.