NASA helicopter test a smash hit

HAMPTON, Va. — Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center dropped an old Marine CH-46E helicopter fuselage filled with 15 dummy occupants from a height of about 30 feet Wednesday, Aug. 28, to test improved seats and seatbelts and gather data on the odds of surviving a helicopter crash.

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NASA to crash helicopter to study safety

NASA researchers will drop a 45-foot-long helicopter fuselage from a height of about 30 feet to test improved seat belts and seats and advance experimental techniques and crashworthiness data. The test is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 28, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

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NASA launches Aeronatics Research Institute

NASA’s Ames Research Center will host a virtual institute to solicit and foster innovative ideas that address technological challenges facing aviation and the U.S. air transportation system today and in the future.

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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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