UNITED STATES ARMY HELICOPTER ACCIDENTS INVOLVING FIRE
ARMY BOARD FOR AVIATION ACCIDENT RESEARCH FORT RUCKER AL
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A statistical review is presented of 94 major helicopter fire- accidents that occurred during the six-year period, July 1957 - June 1963. Findings of the July 1960 - June 1963 period are compared with those of the three previous years. Ninety percent of the fires erupt on, or immediately after, the initial impact during the crash sequence. Fire accidents of this type demonstrate the need of a fuel system designed to prevent fuel spillage when the helicopter comes to rest. Seventy percent of the crashes involved forces considered within the limits of human tolerance and are classified as survivable. Five inflight fires resulted in major accidents over the six-year period. Of these, two occurred during the recent three-year period, and only one of these resulted in a major accident. Ruptured fuel cells and lines caused fuel spillage and subsequent fire in 80 of the accidents. Fuel served as the flammable source in 87 of the accidents. Accidents involving collision with the ground during controlled and uncontrolled conditions have been found to produce the greatest number of fires. The greatest number of survivable fire accidents resulted from roll-overs and wire strikes. These two cause factors produced an equal number of survivable fire accidents. Though a greater number of fire accidents have occurred during the last three-year period, the material costs of these accidents have decreased approximately one-half million dollars. This decrease is due to the fact that the larger, more expensive models did not show an increase in the number of fire accidents.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Civil Engineering