NASA helicopter test a smashing success

HAMPTON, Va. — The successful crash test of a former Marine helicopter could help lead to safer civilian and military helicopters, according to NASA aeronautics researchers.

The full-scale test sent the fuselage and its 15 dummy occupants crashing into the dirt at NASA Langley Research Center’s Landing and Impact Research facility in Hampton, Virginia, at about 30 miles an hour.

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Increasing safety one report at a time

Some pilots call it a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Others call it a “Cover Your Butt” card.

But what the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is all about is improving safety for all pilots. In our last print issue, we debuted a new feature in which we run a variety of general aviation-related ASRS reports, which differ quite a bit from the NSTB Accident Reports. Most tellingly, the ASRS reports are written by pilots, not bureaucrats, so you get a real feel for what the pilot was feeling and what he or she learned from the incident.

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Scientists selected for airborne eye on universe

The Universities Space Research Association at Columbia, Md., has selected three astronomers to participate in the first scientific observations to be conducted by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a 2.5-meter (98-inch) diameter airborne infrared telescope.

Naming researchers from the astronomy community is a milestone on SOFIA’s journey to become the most versatile airborne telescope in the world, said Eric Becklin, SOFIA chief scientific advisor. The flying observatory will begin its short science, or “first light” observations, early in the summer 2009 and will continue its program of celestial observations for the next 20 years, Becklin said.

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