Aircraft Accident Survivability: Rotary Wing Aircraft
NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIV PATUXENT RIVER MD
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The intent of this paper is to explore the premise of aircraft accident survivability focusing primarily on military rotary wing aircraft. Human tolerance limits to impact forces and post-crash factors will be examined. Current trends and technology improvements leading to an increased potential for survivability will be discussed and crashworthy design features integrated into advanced platforms will be reviewed. Primary factors of aircraft accident survivability with respect to rotary wing applications, consisting of crashworthy design, human tolerance limit estimates, post crash environments, and general survivability factors shall be explored. While firm human tolerance data is not available due to difficulties of live research, the dynamic nature of mishap events and physical differences among aviators, tolerance estimates are utilized in crashworthy design to mitigate the damaging effects of crash loads in excess of occupant limits. Methods to reduce impact forces experienced by occupants will be reviewed, and recent improvements in helicopter airframe design from the systems perspective will be introduced. Crashworthiness and survivability are essential areas of concentration and are subject areas of rising importance within the aviation industry. While perhaps not as mathematically, scientifically or historically defined or documented as fields such as structures and dynamics, crashworthiness and survivability will likely come to the forefront of aviation in coming years.
- Military Aircraft Operations