[ NASA Langley Research Center ] Hampton, Va., U.S.A.
NASA aeronautics researchers at Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., recently dropped a MD-500 U.S. Army helicopter from a height of 35 feet (simiulating a relatively severe crash) to see whether an expandable honeycomb cushion called a deployable energy absorber could lessen the destructive force of a crash. On impact, the Kevlar cushion attached to its belly kept the craft’s bottom from touching the ground. Helicopters are at higher risk for crashes because they fly close to the ground, close to power lines and other obstacles, and often are used for emergencies, including search and rescue, and medical evacuations. Four crash test dummies along for the ride survived unscathed.