NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — NASA engineers are preparing to crash a former military helicopter to test how various materials affect the likelihood of injuries for occupants.
The Marine helicopter has been retrofitted with three different composite subfloors for Wednesday's full-scale crash test at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton.
Interest in using carbon composites in airframe design has grown because it is a lightweight material. But NASA officials say there hasn't been a lot of safety testing done on a full-scale level.
On Wednesday, the helicopter fuselage will be swung from large cables at a slight angle and will slam into a pile of soil at 30 mph. Officials say the impact is representative of a severe but survivable crash under civilian and military requirements.