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NASA Scientists Jubilant After Successful Helicopter Crash

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the examining-the-wreckage dept.

NASA 110

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Elizabeth Barber reports in the Christian Science Monitor that when a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter plummeted into the ground at more than 30 miles per hour, there was jubilation from the scientists on the ground at the culmination of some two years of preparation to test a helicopter's crashworthiness. 'We designed this test to simulate a severe but survivable crash under both civilian and military requirements,' says NASA lead test engineer Martin Annett. 'It was amazingly complicated with all the planning, dummies, cameras, instrumentation and collaborators, but it went off without any major hitches.' During the crash, high-speed cameras filming at 500 images per second tracked the black dots painted on the helicopter, allowing scientists to assess the exact deformation of each part of the craft, in a photographic technique called full field photogrammetry. Thirteen instrumented crash test dummies and two un-instrumented manikins stood, sat or reclined for a potentially rough ride. The goal of the drop was to test improved seat belts and seats, to collect crashworthiness data and to check out some new test methods but it was also to serve as a baseline for another scheduled test in 2014. 'It's extraordinarily useful information. I will use this information for the next 20 years,' says Lindley Bark, a crash safety engineer at Naval Air Systems Command on hand for the test. 'Even the passenger airplane seats in there were important to us because we fly large aircraft that have the same type of seating."'

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at first, thought it was full of lawyers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713035)

but, i mean how many lawyers could you squeeze into one of those things anyway? Not enough to make a difference.
Airbus. Now those guys have the right idea.

I was here wereyou? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713043)

fist post

What? (-1, Redundant)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44713071)

Seatbelts?

NASA still lives in the past - oh well. Hint: airbags

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713133)

Oh there must have been a huge breakthrough in airbag technology I never heard about...how do these new airbags restrain a person in their seat to stop them being flung out of the vehicle during a crash, like seatbelts are designed to do?

I cant see any mechanism for how this could possibly be possible with airbags.

Can you please enlighten all as to how this all works ?

Re:What? (1)

edjs (1043612) | about a year ago | (#44713345)

Maybe you put the people in the airbags, and they just bounce to safety?

Re:What? (1)

lkernan (561783) | about a year ago | (#44713447)

Maybe you put the people in the airbags, and they just bounce to safety?

In Soviet Russia, airbags are put in people...

Re:What? (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#44713541)

Maybe you put the people in the airbags, and they just bounce to safety?

In Soviet Russia, airbags are put in people...

In some countries, people are airbags.

Re: What? (2)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a year ago | (#44714689)

. . . And then they drown. Don't you remember your first 10 helicopter underwater escape training sessions? I remember mine, and am due for re-certification in under a year.

Re:What? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44713987)

"how do these new airbags restrain a person in their seat to stop them being flung out of the vehicle during a crash, like seatbelts are designed to do?"

Same way they have in the past - inflate over every opening and block you from going out. That is one of the few primary functions of wheel and dash airbags - to keep you from flying through the windshield. We have side curtain airbags that deploy and somewhat prevent you from flying out the side windows as well.

I'd imagine better versions of these are available for NASA and the military.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

laederkeps (976361) | about a year ago | (#44714591)

I was under the impression that using airbags without seatbelts would actually cause injuries, mainly due to passengers being bounced around uncontrollably. In a car crash, the head and neck are flung forward by the collision and then back by the airbag rebound, potentially causing whiplash injuries.

If you're wearing a seatbelt, however, it will keep your body stable while the airbag slows your head's travel forward.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong but the two seem to complement each other quite well.

Re:What? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44715279)

If you're not in the harnesses then you are unlikely to hit the bag at the proper time and place, but hitting an airbag while bouncing around a cabin is still better than hitting something harder.

Re:What? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44715913)

> but hitting an airbag while bouncing around a cabin is still better than hitting something harder.

Are you certain about that? Yes the airbag is softer than most other parts of the interior, but if you're not slowed by a seatbelt then you will hit it while it's still in it's early inflation phase, and moving *very* much faster than anything else, up to 200mph. If you were traveling at 60mph and hit something immobile without seatbelts restraining you then that airbag will be a slap in the face by a pillow traveling at 260mph. Easily enough to snap your neck. Seatbelts restrain you enough so that the airbag has time to reach near-total inflation before you collide with it, which combined with it's slowing effect on you can bring the bag impact speed down to closer to the initial car impact speed, and a 60mph impact involves almost 19x less kinetic energy than a 260mph one.

Re:What? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44718831)

It's not better if your head is right in the way when it inflates. But in that case, you're an asshole anyway.

Re:What? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44716251)

The problem with airbags is whiplash ... not impact.

Re:What? (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44716703)

...but hitting an airbag while bouncing around a cabin is still better than hitting something harder...

It is not better if you slide under it...

Re:What? (3, Informative)

bidule (173941) | about a year ago | (#44715589)

Dixit Wikipedia:
"To provide crash protection for occupants not wearing seat belts, U.S. airbag designs trigger much more forcefully than airbags designed to the international ECE standards used in most other countries. "

When you are not wearing a seatbelt, the airbag will get there earlier to compensate. Maybe you were thinking about children, which represent more than half the airbag deaths.

Re:What? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#44716125)

That's only true in Europe where they are a true secondary restraint system unlike in the United States where although classified as a secondary restraint, the specifications ensure that current airbags are actually a primary restraint system.

Re:What? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44716543)

"If you're wearing a seatbelt, however, it will keep your body stable while the airbag slows your head's travel forward. "

Out of every accident I've been in where airbags deployed, the seatbelt did NOTHING to lock down and keep me in place. If the airbags had not been there, I'd be a smear on the road right now.

Re:What? (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about a year ago | (#44717513)

Well, either you were driving exceptionally fast, or the other guy was. Regardless, I'm happy you're here to vouch for them.

Re:What? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44721605)

Other guy was going too fast (hooray EDR!) I have a flawless driving record, 400K and still going strong.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44718495)

And exactly how many accidents have there been that involve a person going through the windshield or side window when wearing a seat belt, even without airbags? I've been around a few serious accidents before airbags were common, and while the steering column can do nasty things to your arms and head, people were still contained within the car from seatbelts. Statistics for air bag safety mostly common down to head injuries, not ejection.

Re:What? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44721611)

"And exactly how many accidents have there been that involve a person going through the windshield or side window when wearing a seat belt, even without airbags? "

USA alone or worldwide? I can name several celebrities that have been in auto accidents where they got ejected while wearing a seatbelt. The drummer for Def Leppard, for example, had his arm torn off by the seatbelt as he got ejected.

Exact numbers can't be had as there's someone likely getting ejected from their car, while wearing a seatbelt, every hour.

Re:What? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a year ago | (#44722623)

Out of every accident I've been in where airbags deployed, the seatbelt did NOTHING to lock down and keep me in place.

How many crashes have you been in where airbags have deployed?

And how many crashes in total?

In my 20 years of driving ... actually almost 25 years ... I've had (1) drive-away-able (my inexperience, came into contact with the kerb, very hard, while still a learner) ; (2) drive-away-able (both stopped out of contact, but came together on the bounce in the springs) ; (3) walk-away, no airbag deployed (pothole, then icy corner, then stone in verge destroyed wheel ; wrote off car). Only one of those cars actually had airbags, but I still don't know what level of impact is necessary to trigger them. And I don't particularly want to find out, from personal experience.

Oh, sorry ; forgot one crash, if you can call it that. (4) I was reversing to get to one parking bay, when someone else started reversing out of a different parking bay and we came together ; again, no airbag deployment.

Re:What? (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44716687)

I was under the impression that using airbags without seatbelts would actually cause injuries, mainly due to passengers being bounced around uncontrollably.

It's not so much that you bounce around uncontrollably; it's that with the airbag in front of your upper body, and nothing around your waist, all your forward momentum results in your sliding under the airbag into the floor space in front of your seat, where by "sliding" I mean "in a high-speed crash, being crumpled and crushed" :-(

mennekins you say? (0, Offtopic)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#44713079)

I'm curious to know what a mannekin is, is it like a moccasin? or a mandolin? does it taste good with lemon pepper? can i expect it on my next inflight meal thanks to this research?

I also wonder if we had any mannequins onboard without electronic sensors...but sorry, back to the topic at hand. is there a special fork i should use when eating a mannekin or do i just crack the shell and eat it with my fingers?

Re:mennekins you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713265)

Grammar Nazi here. I believe you meant to say "manikins".

Womannequins (0)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year ago | (#44713289)

Of course to be politically correct they should have had some womannequins as well. ;-)

Re:Womannequins (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44713349)

Of course to be politically correct they should have had some womannequins as well. ;-)

Wouldn't that be "womennequin"? ;)

Re:Womannequins (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44715345)

I believe "womennequitas"

Re: Womannequins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713455)

No. "Woman" is sexist. At first you might think the correction should be "woperson", but that's sexist too. The proper fully non-sexist term is "woperchild".

As for "mannequin": it should be "perchildequin".

Re: Womannequins (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44716791)

Do not confuse with "Whopperchild". Actually, "mannequin" IS a sexist word. It is the Dutch word "manneken" (= little man) as pronounced by the French. At that point in history, they did not use starving women to show clothes.

Re:Womannequins (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44714537)

Do womannequins produce sootikins...?

Re:mennekins you say? (1)

jb11 (2683015) | about a year ago | (#44715547)

Unlike the mannequins you typically see in department store displays, manikins are the anatomical models that are used for education and research.

Re:mennekins you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44717403)

There's this handy little thing called a "dictionary" that will do wonders for your vocabulary. If you don't know what "vocabulary" means, I suggest the aforementioned "dictionary" to cure your ignorance.

I hope I've been of help.

I love scientists. (4, Funny)

tpstigers (1075021) | about a year ago | (#44713091)

They actually do shit with data.

Re:I love scientists. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713155)

They actually do shit with data.

Yeah. It's just too bad in their tiny little world they believe a 30MPH crash would actually simulate jack shit in the real world.

Oh wait, I forgot, we all still use hot air balloons for travel, so this crash data is totally valid...

Re:I love scientists. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713253)

If you knew anything about helicopters you'd know that 30mph is VERY relevant. Depending on what you're flying, your load, and weather conditions, 30mph (just over 2600 feet per minute) is approximately the speed you'd hit the ground in an autorotation if you did not flare or try to lessen the rate with only collective (which would not be very effective at all). In some helicopters the vertical descent rate in an auto is much lower but 2600 is a good ballpark number.

Re:I love scientists. (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44713463)

If you knew anything about helicopters you'd know that 30mph is VERY relevant.

Indeed. In 1981, I was a young Marine grunt on an exercise in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. We were riding CH-46s into an LZ and the bird right behind mine lost power and auto-gyrated into the ground. I reached the treeline, and turned just in time to see it hit the ground. The helicopter was badly damaged, and the Marines on board were shaken up, but no one was hurt.

Re:I love scientists. (1, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#44713859)

If you knew anything about helicopters you'd know that 30mph is VERY relevant

Let's not forget what's important here. With this data, they will be able to determine the type of paint that will prove most resistant to impact damage from wayward shopping carts.

Re:I love scientists. (0)

Kilo Kilo (2837521) | about a year ago | (#44715033)

Glad to see they replaced that with something just as reliable, like the V-22 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I love scientists. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713417)

Considering the accident rate for helicopters for the last couple years was 4-7 per 100,000 flying hours, while the fatal accident rate was 0.75-1.3 per 100,000, non-fatal accidents are a lot more common than fatal. A large portion of crashes involve take off and landing, or involve slow conditions when moving near the ground (e.g. lifting cargo). 30 mph is also about the speed of decent when in auto-rotation with no forward airspeed (although you could halve that at the minimum decent rate by moving forward). It seems like a 30 mph crash is pretty darn relevant to the real world. Or would you rather they test the effectiveness of seat belts in a crash they were 99% sure would be fatal regardless of seat belts?

Re:I love scientists. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#44713509)

A helicopter crash at say mach 1 would be far more entertaining though.
Completely useless and unrealistic, but damn entertaining!

Re:I love scientists. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44713581)

We must make this happen.

For science.

Re: I love scientists. (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44713885)

Must be a Bell 222 and painted black with the AirWolf theme song playing in the background.

Re:I love scientists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44716847)

Not really, the helicopter would disintegrate in the sky before hitting the ground(neglecting the problem of getting a helicopter up to that speed).

Re:I love scientists. (3, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#44714587)

The vast majority of helicopter crashes happen at 30 mph or less. Takeoff and landing accidents (from hover), loss of tailrotor effectiveness, settling with power, botched autorotations...these all tend to happen with the helicopter travelling at 30 mph or less.

Pity you don't seem to know jack shit about helicopters before unloading on a useful test.

Re:I love scientists. (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about a year ago | (#44717815)

Read chapter two of 'To Engineer is Human'.

His previous book is 'To Forgive Design'.

Wonderful progression of titles by Petroski and excellent books.

Paul

Re:I love scientists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44715455)

No they DONT.
A cane and Wicker basket for balloon flight has proven to be best

And soy bean plastic on those horrible Russian cars also worked pretty good - to absorb impact. If it breaks - that is good.

And those big foam seats in APC's to absorb roadside bombs works good too. Plastic buckets are also used, or milk crates.

Back to Mil Helicopters. They are overweight.They removed titanium honeycomb, be cause is is both expensive and ups the radar profile. Salisbury shields also add weight , mess with crashes.

With certain guns, an airbag going off could be more fatal than the crash. Be a brave scientist to suggest a cane and wicker crash absorber.

NASA Scientists Perplexed After Unsuccessful Crash (5, Funny)

Ambvai (1106941) | about a year ago | (#44713101)

In other news, NASA scientists announced confusion after attempting to crash a helicopter and failing despite repeated tries. The helicopter in question had, in various stages, had its stabilizers, fuel tank and even rotors removed. Despite all this, the helicopter remained aloft. "A failure," one scientist was quoted as saying. "We'll just have to shoot it down and try to crash one next next year after more planning." "A helicopter that cannot crash is a tremendous blow to science," another was heard arguing with another, "How are we supposed to obtain crash data with an infinitely levitating hunk of junk?"

Re:NASA Scientists Perplexed After Unsuccessful Cr (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44713391)

Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom.

Re: NASA Scientists Perplexed After Unsuccessful C (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44714139)

No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There is always boom tomorrow. Boom sooner or later. BOOM!

Re:NASA Scientists Perplexed After Unsuccessful Cr (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44714581)

In other news, NASA scientists announced confusion after attempting to crash a helicopter and failing despite repeated tries.

You joke...but this is the sort of thing that never gets funding.

Adam savage tells a tale of how a guy called him after they did the firing bullets inside aircraft episode. He said they'd been trying to get funding to do that experiment for decades.

It also took discovery channel to crash a 'plane and see what happens. There's no way a government could do this...right? (somebody might lose their campaign funding if the results made Boeing look bad!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Boeing_727_crash_experiment [wikipedia.org]

Re:NASA Scientists Perplexed After Unsuccessful Cr (1)

matfud (464184) | about a year ago | (#44714987)

NASA did it first in 1984.

Maybe this will help helos get mainstream (1)

Resol (950137) | about a year ago | (#44713115)

Seems about time they start doing this ... others have been doing similar activities with cars and planes. Helicopters have always seemed like a good idea to me, but generally are outside the financial reach of most of us (I've only been on one 20 minute sightseeing tour in Hawaii and it was $200 or $10/minute/passenger - there were 5 passengers). I wonder how much of my fare was to cover insurance premiums? Perhaps with more data for the actuaries to work with, the flight costs could drop to the point we could see helo transportation rival busses / small planes.

Re:Maybe this will help helos get mainstream (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713255)

Helicopters are not very efficient, require tons of maintenance and are hard to fly. Exactly what about this seemed like a good idea to you?

Re:Maybe this will help helos get mainstream (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44713515)

Helicopters are not very efficient, require tons of maintenance and are hard to fly. Exactly what about this seemed like a good idea to you?

If cost only is in your focus: crash them all, then, and save the costs.
but... just a hunch... maybe there are some benefits as the reason of helicopters still existing today?

Re:Maybe this will help helos get mainstream (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44713599)

I wonder how much of my fare was to cover insurance premiums?

Given 5 passengers, I'll assume it to be a turbine helicopter. The absolute cheapest turbine (for operating costs) is about $600 per hour, or about $10 per minute. A mid-cost one will run you twice that, or more. So I'd say that half of the cost was aircraft maintenance. The pilot was likely nearly free. Many starting commercial pilots would pay to fly that trip. Insurance isn't that much, as flight-seeing trips are about as much in areas where insurance is essentially free.

The problem with flight actuaries is that there are so few crashes, and no easy way to differentiate between them. Almost all small craft crashes are pilot error, the most common being loading/power issues (just about all celebrities that went down were a pilot making an error to fly with an overloaded craft or into unacceptable weather.

Re:Maybe this will help helos get mainstream (1)

Resol (950137) | about a year ago | (#44717357)

Thanks for this explanation. So, I guess what you are saying is that to make things more economical, effort should be made into making the equipment less complicated and more rugged to reduce the maintenance aspects. I suppose this doesn't bode well for the personal jet packs we've all be promised for so many years! ;-)

Why are they making a huge deal about this test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713143)

NASA has been doing these tests for at least 35 years. The way they drop them hasn't changed much. Hell, even using the black dots isn't new for them. But all the media outlets carried this like it was something brand-new

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44713421)

Re: "The way they drop them hasn't changed much."
http://www.defence.gov.au/sea_king_boi/pdf/chapters/Chapter%2018.pdf [defence.gov.au]
Section 8.31 seems to give a hint at what NASA is trying to help with.
(from http://www.defence.gov.au/sea_king_boi/chapters.htm [defence.gov.au] )

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44713563)

NASA has been doing these tests for at least 35 years. The way they drop them hasn't changed much. Hell, even using the black dots isn't new for them. But all the media outlets carried this like it was something brand-new

Wel, it might have been quite new for the Christian Science Monitor.
It's not likely helicopter crashes could be studied based on Bible [christianscience.com] .

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44713651)

I guess you've never heard of them before. I consider the CSM currently one of the most reliable and unbiased of US media sources out there.

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44713713)

As I understand it, the short version of Christian Science is that God made everybody perfect, including their intelligence. We're supposed to be able to research, and learn, and improve our ability to use the resources we have. There is no forbidden knowledge, and no praise for ignorance. Most science is pretty universally accepted (and reported in the CSM).

Medicine is a somewhat different matter. Depending on the branch, all illness is either God's punishment or his plan, and that's the idea that leads the fundamentalists to deny medical treatment and let their children die. It should be noted well that many (if not most) Christian Scientists accept modern medicine more, as a tool developed by the aforementioned God-given intelligence. Prayer and other spiritual practices heal the mind and spirit, while doctors can take care of the physical symptoms. Between the two, the body can heal and the mind can guide it for a full recovery.

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44714065)

I guess you've never heard of them before.

Indeed, I didn't.

I consider the CSM currently one of the most reliable and unbiased of US media sources out there.

For media news (social, political and the like), I can believe it.
Can you say the same for scientific type of news? (I'm indeed asking for opinion/references here, as opposed to raising the question to cast a doubt).

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44714601)

Can you say the same for scientific type of news?

Apparently, all it has in common is the name.

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713981)

It's not likely helicopter crashes could be studied based on Bible.

You might be surprised... [homestead.com]

Re:Why are they making a huge deal about this test (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44714743)

NASA has been doing these tests for at least 35 years. The way they drop them hasn't changed much. Hell, even using the black dots isn't new for them. But all the media outlets carried this like it was something brand-new

Hey, know what? NASA folks are way smarter than you. I mean, they know they have to make a big noise to be heard above the screaming Miley fans and Twerk Team videos. They're actually doing a pretty good job in social media, if you ask me. We've got Curiosity's Adorable Twitter account, [twitter.com] Drawing a Penis on Mars [youtube.com] , Getting cut by the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle's Parallel Parking. [youtube.com] , Here's a cute GIF of Zero-G hijinks on the ISS, [iruntheinternet.com] Exploring some social issues of Working with Robonaut [youtube.com] , and lots of other engaging and fun stuff. Search it up, this is awesomely fun stuff, even if (especially if) a bit corny.

Getting out there and getting the common folks interested in NASA is crucial to funding more missions. You think we would have gone to the moon in '69 if the whole thing was kept low-key? Hell no. IMHO, they didn't make a big enough deal about the Helicopter Crash. They should have had it televised on NASA TV, maybe invited the guys from those Slow Mo shows to run their own cams from a safe distance. It should have been on my Evening News. Look, the science is great, don't get me wrong, but you have to deal with the public on their terms... Terms like "Successful Helicopter Crash!"

I would have said, "CGI in movies is so last century. Here at NASA we crash helicopters without even needing the excuse of an action movie plot."
::Safety glasses descend to cover speaker's eyes::
Greenscreen Helicopter crashes with cheap CGI explosion overlay behind them.
::OSD rises from bottom of frame:: "Deal with it."
[Cut to montage of crashes and 1sec of dubstep]
::Record Screech:: [Cut To actual scientists discussing setup for THIS crash.]
Have scientist quickly run down the importance of the crash intermixed with the shots of the crash several times in different angles AND SPEEDS to keep the easily distracted from changing the channel, only THEN drone on a bit with the "boring" details of how the data will be used for decades, etc. for the nerds. Including links to other crash test videos. [youtube.com]

Ask yourself. Who the hell is NASA supposed to be for? The Future, right? KIDS! What kid DIDN'T want to be an Astronaut back when we were still going to the moon? Pandering to crusty science minded folks is easy, it's time to interact with the common folk and get them interested in space, "Not because it's easy, but because it is Hard."

TL;DR: They're doing their damn job, fool.

I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713151)

Fuck crashing in a helo, the forces involved are rarely survivable
for humans.

But if the NASA boys got a few paychecks by dicking around
with this project, I guess that's not so bad, after all look at how
much the NSA wastes every week.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (1, Flamebait)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#44713205)

Yup I mean you can absorb as much energy as you want with deformation and the like, but at the end of the day you are going from velocity v to velocity 0 in very little time indeed. So you can build safety devices all day long and that won't stop your heart from ripping itself off of your aorta, despite the fact you may have no external cuts and bruises...

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44713575)

That all depends on how little "very little time" is. Crashing at 30MPH [gsu.edu] is apparently survivable [wikipedia.org] , but note that the forces involved are greatly diminished by having extra space (and therefore time) to decelerate. That comes from having a helicopter body that deforms properly, so it absorbs kinetic energy rather than transferring it into the occupants.

Ideally, in a vertical crash the humans end up sitting right on the ground, with the whole fuselage under them deformed at a rate that keeps the peak acceleration they experience in survivable levels. No, it certainly wouldn't be fun, but it could mean the difference between death and just having survivable internal damage... and if the rest of the helicopter's deformation has been engineered with as much care, there (also ideally) would be no hazard from debris, fire, or other environmental effects, so the victims are relatively safe just lying there waiting for rescue... Perhaps a crushed spine, but no disconnected vital organs.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44714907)

Perhaps a crushed spine, but no disconnected vital organs.

Provided they wouldn't be likely to kill me before surgeons could fix things up, I think I'd rather go with a few disconnected vital organs. It's a lot harder to heal spinal cord/nerve damage enough to avoid at least part of the body being in serious pain long-term, and that kind of pain is a real bitch to get under control.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713435)

Never mind that 80+% of helicopter crashes are non-fatal, because AC thinks that counts as "rarely survivable."

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713445)

I have a bit of budget envy. I feel like I could collect a lot of data that would be useful to me for 20 years if I had the kind of budget they must have put into this.

Oh well, I do on occasion use census, federal reserve and BLS data, so I am a beneficiary of govt data collection (no, not that kind). I guess my irritation is I have to make do with what I've got and they get to ask for money for the things they want to do and then have to settle for only getting a portion of it, which is a different kind of problem.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44713609)

A successful autorotation is a crash. Crash doesn't mean nose-down damage and casualties. It means unintended and less-than-properly-controlled landing. A hard landing in an airplane with no injuries and no damage is a "crash" so long as the forced involved made either likely. A successful autootation with no damage or injuries is also a crash. Though, many involved with such crashes will not treat them as such to keep records clean.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44714021)

Huh? What kind of bullshit are you talking? A successful autorotation is NOT a crash. It's an emergency landing and by no means a crash. Likewise, a hard landing in an airplane is not a crash either.

A crash is typically a landing, forced or otherwise, that results in significant damage to the aircraft.

Hell, by your reasoning I've crashed hundreds of times.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44714121)

Huh? What kind of bullshit are you talking?

I gave the definition of an "aviation incident", which is often called a crash. Crash is not a technical term. "Aviation accident" is what you are stating "crash" is. There is no technical definition of "crash" defined by ICAO. So why are you so insistent the definition is "accident" and not "incident"?

Hell, by your reasoning I've crashed hundreds of times.

If every landing you perform is a hard landing, you may want to take up a new hobby.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44720289)

You can autorotate or dead stick for practice. That's nothing. Unplanned loss of power is always something. Even if it's only one of two.

Re:I'll take autorotation for $1000, Alex ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44715089)

This crash was intended and controlled. According to your definition, it was not a crash.

Helicopter Crash!! (0)

Edis Krad (1003934) | about a year ago | (#44713199)

Wow! They probably remote flew a helicopter and then crashed it at a few miles per hour and it went up in a big ball of fire, but not before giving out some exciting new data taken by high-speed cameras placed....

*watches video*

It's a fuselage dropped from a crane not 30 feet from the ground. That was pretty anti-climatic...

Re:Helicopter Crash!! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44714779)

That was pretty anti-climatic...

I'm sorry you're disappointed. Have this complimentary video to cheer you up: NASA Johnson Style. [youtube.com]

I guess they could have contracted with the guys from that slow-mo show to spice it up a bit, if we increased their funding...

Re:Helicopter Crash!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44715099)

If this "crash" was on the news, they would have said the crew managed to land it safely.

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713201)

They just dropped the fuselage from height.

The NTSB report... (1)

TrebleMaker (628707) | about a year ago | (#44713209)

... will probably blame it on pile-it error.

Calm down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713339)

This has to be one of the most hyped-up titles in recent time, no accident occured, no scientists shooting at flying machines either. Just a basic dummy crash test this time on a helicopter carcass.

NASA Langley (4, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year ago | (#44713399)

Drop testing with the same gantry they've used since the 60's and Apollo. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/fs-2007-08-138-larc.html [nasa.gov]
Now named a National Historic Landmark.

Re:NASA Langley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44714089)

very cool. I have always wondered where that site was located.

NOW IF ONLY PLANES CRASHED AT 30 MPH !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713419)

1. Spend 20 million crashing a bird in which few fly - check !!

2. Spend next 20 years analyzing crash - check !!

3. Create planes that crash at 30 MPH - working !!

4. Profit !!

Damn hippies and their expensive toys !!

Is it just me? (0)

dicobalt (1536225) | about a year ago | (#44713431)

Or is NASA really going off topic?

Re:Is it just me? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713477)

It's just you:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research .

Re:Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713489)

National _what?_ and Space Administration?

No, not so off-topic.

Re:Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44716469)

Oh, crap, it's the N SA.

"It wasn't hard; we told the team it was metric" (3, Funny)

Theatetus (521747) | about a year ago | (#44713565)

"and then had them write a safe landing program in FORTRAN."

Space Helicopters WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44713967)

Why is NASA involved? I though they put stuff in space?

Re:Space Helicopters WTF? (2)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44714017)

Gee, wonder what that first A in NASA means........

Certainly doesn't mean Asshole.

naked manikin anakin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44714023)

Manikin? Is that what Anakin would have become if he didn't go to the dark side? Mannequin. get me a manager i demand a refund

This answers the question of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44715387)

This answers the question of, 'How many NASA scientists does it take to discover gravity?'

NASA has some really bright people working there these days. Err, do we call non-carbon lifeforms 'people'?

They were jubilant... (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#44715607)

.... because it's their job to crash helicopters. That it resulted in good data is secondary. :-)

Perverse interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44717295)

If people don't die in helicopter crashes, how will musicians become famous?

So that's where they went (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44717505)

Government hires Mythbusters.

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