Inflatable Escape Slide Beam and Girt Strength Tests: Support for Revision of Technical Standard Order (TSO) C-69b,6
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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The ability of inflatable escape slides to provide a safe egress route for evacuees in transport aircraft emergencies depends, to a great degree, on the structural integrity of such slides. Recent certification demonstration evacuations have demonstrated potential problems with the structural integrity of inflatable escape slides specifically, the strength of the major structural elements of escape slides, i.e., the inflatable beams, has been questioned. With severe loading of the escape slides, the inflatable beams are known to bend, sometimes allowing the sliding surfaces between the beams to form cups that can impede the egress of evacuees by making it hard to climb out of the slide and onto firm footing. This study was intended to develop practical dynamic tests of inflatable beam strength that can be implemented during the developmental manufacturing process for escape slides to identify and correct inadequate inflatable beam strength. The result was the development of a practical test that uses sandbags to simulate human evacuees who are bunched together, tobaggan style, during movement down the slide. The test provides data essentially equivalent to that obtained with human test subjects and also provides substantial benefits to human test subject safety. Additional tests of the structural integrity of the escape slide girt attachment-to- aircraft were also developed to standardize the test procedures for girt strength. Prior manufacturing tests had utilized 2 challenges static loading of the girt attachment by sandbags laid along the erected slide surface and lateral loading of the girt by a 25-knot wind applied horizontally to the side of the erected escape slide. The new tests use both symmetrical and asymmetrical loading of the girt in a tensile test machine.
- Escape, Rescue and Survival