Check out what is either a scene from “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines…or the Letterman show.
The place: NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.
The idea: Drop a helicopter 35 feet to see what happens. The Army-donated bird was brimming with sensor and rigged up with a shock absorber made of honeycombed Kevlar. Four crash dummies were strapped in, of which one had sensors in the torso that simulated internal organs (stop it! I said internal organs!).
The Kevlar cushion was cooked up to protect astronauts in returning spacecraft – but engineers wanted to see it it could be a practical lifesaver for aviation as well.
The helicopter hit the ground at just over 53 miles per hour. The dummies said their necks were hurting and they were calling their lawyers.
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