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Photos: NASA Conducts Crash Test of Chopper Body

NASA Test Helicopter

(Image credit: NASA Langley / David C. Bowman)

NASA's Langley Research Center engineers are scheduled to crash test a former Marine helicopter at the historic Landing and Impact Research facility. The fuselage is painted in black polka dots as part of a high speed photographic technique.

Crash Test Dummies

(Image credit: NASA Langley / David C. Bowman)

The dummies will test seatbelts and other technologies during a crash test in which the helicopter will be dropped from a height of about 30 feet.

Final Prep Work

(Image credit: NASA Langley / David C. Bowman)

Preparations for crash testing an aircraft can take years and incredibly complex.

Chopper Gets a Lift

(Image credit: NASA TV)

Minutes before the test drop on Wednesday, Aug. 28, the helicopter body was pulled 30 feet into the air.

Why The Spots?

(Image credit: NASA TV)

One side of the chopper was painted white with black polka dots so that researchers can reconstruct the crash using images taken by high-speed cameras on the ground.


(Image credit: NASA TV)

The airframe used in the test was once part of a CH-46 Sea Knight owned by the U.S. Marine Corps. This screen grab was taken when the chopper hit the ground on Aug. 28.

Crash Inspection

(Image credit: NASA TV)

Researchers and firefighters do a preliminary check on the damage moments after the crash test.

Test Dummies

(Image credit: NASA Langley )

The aftermath of the test crash.

Dummies Down

(Image credit: NASA Langley )

There were 13 instrumented dummies and two uninstrumented manikins inside the craft.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.