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American Archives Month 2010

Crashworthiness

Many of the safety scientists whose papers are in the Aviation Safety and Security Archives worked to improve the crashworthiness of aircraft in order to increase passenger protection from impact forces during an accident.

One example from the S. Harry Robertson Papers is the testing of experimental energy-absorbing seats developed by Bell Helicopter for the OH-58A helicopter. These tests were conducted in 1970-1971 by Robertson and others at Arizona State University's Engineering Research Center and were designed to assess the ability of the seats to protect occupants from high vertical impact acceleration. The test program evaluated the dynamic performance of three seat designs: a newly designed experimental seat, the production OH-58A crew seat, and a modification to the existing production seat design.

Man preparing seat with dummy for a crash test

The test program used a Sierra Engineering Company anthropometric dummy to simulate the pilot and/or copilot. The 200 lb., 6-foot tall dummy was designed to the anthropometry of a 95th percentile U.S. Air Force crewman based on data from a 1950 survey.

Dummy with helmet ready for crash test