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Crashworthiness is the ability of a structure to protect its occupants during an impact. This is commonly tested when investigating
the safety of aircraft and vehicles. Depending on the nature of the impact and the vehicle involved, different criteria are used to
determine the crashworthiness of the structure. Crashworthiness may be assessed either prospectively, using computer models (e.g.,
LS-DYNA, PAM-CRASH, MSC Dytran, MADYMO) or experiments, or retrospectively by analyzing crash outcomes. Several
criteria are used to assess crashworthiness prospectively, including the deformation patterns of the vehicle structure, the acceleration
experienced by the vehicle during an impact, and the probability of injury predicted by human body models. Injury probability is
defined using criteria, which are mechanical parameters (e.g., force, acceleration, or deformation) that correlate with injury risk. A
common injury criterion is the Head impact criterion (HIC). Crashworthiness is assessed retrospectively by analyzing injury risk in
real-world crashes, often using regression or other statistical techniques to control for the myriad of confounders that are present in

Regulatory agencies
See also
Further reading
External links


The history of human tolerance to deceleration can likely trace its beginning in the studies by John Stapp to investigate the limits of
human tolerance in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Pakistan Army began serious accident analysis into
crashworthiness as a result of fixed-wing and rotary-wing accidents. As the US Army's doctrine changed, helicopters became the
primary mode of transportation in Vietnam. Pilots were receiving spinal injuries in otherwise survivable crashes due to decelerative
forces on the spine and fires. Work began to develop energy absorbing seats to reduce the chance of spinal injuries[1] during training
and combat in Vietnam. Heavy research was conducted into human tolerance, energy attenuation and structural designs that would
protect the occupants of military helicopters.[2][3] The primary reason is that ejection or exiting a helicopter is impractical given the
rotor system and typical altitude at which Army helicopters fly. In the late 1960s the Army published the Aircraft Crash Survival
Design Guide.[4] The guide was revised several times and became a multi-volume set divided by aircraft systems. The intent of this
guide is to assist engineers in understanding the design considerations important to crash-resistant military aircraft. Consequently, the
Army established a military standard (MIL-STD-1290A) for light fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.[5] The standard establishes
minimum requirements for crash safety for human occupants based on the need to maintain a livable volume or space and the
reduction of decelerative loads upon the occupant.[6]

Crashworthiness was greatly improved in the 1970s with the fielding of the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and the Boeing AH-64
Apache helicopters. Primary crash injuries were reduced, but secondary injuries within the cockpit continued to occur. This led to the
consideration of additional protective devices such as airbags. Airbags were considered a viable solution to reducing the incidents of
head strikes in the cockpit, and were incorporated in Armyhelicopters.
Regulatory agencies
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Aeronautic and Space
Administration, and the Department of Defense have been the leading proponents for crash safety in the United States. They have
each developed their own authoritative safety requirements and conducted extensive research and development in the field.

See also
Automobile safety
Buff strength of rail vehicles
Bumper (car)
Compressive strength
Crash test
Crash test dummy
Hugh DeHaven
Jerome F. Lederer
Seat belt
Self-sealing fuel tank

1. The Evolution of Energy Absorption Systems for Crashworthy Helicopter Seats
by Stan Desjardins, paper at 59th AHS
2. Human Tolerance and Crash Survival(
M-113-06.pdf) Archived (
May 17, 2011, at
the Wayback Machine. - Shanahan (NATO)
3. "History of Full-Scale Aircraft and Rotorcraft Crash eTsting". CiteSeerX (
viewdoc/summary?doi= Missing or empty |url= (help)
4. Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide Volume 1 (
5. Military Standard for Light Fixed and Rotary-Wing Aircraft(
TD-1290A.pdf) Archived (
d/1200/MIL-STD-1290A.pdf)2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
6. Aircraft Crashworthiness Research Program( -

Further reading
RDECOM TR 12-D-12,Full Spectrum Crashworthiness Criteria for Rotorcraft
, Dec 2011.
USAAVSCOM TR 89-D-22A, Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide, Volume I - Design Criteria and Checklists, Dec
USAAVSCOM TR 89-D-22B, Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide, Volume II - Aircraft Design Crash Impact
Conditions and Human Tolerance, Dec 1989.
USAAVSCOM TR 89-D-22C, Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide, Volume III - Aircraft Structural Crash Resistance,
Dec 1989.
USAAVSCOM TR 89-D-22D, Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide, Volume IV - Aircraft Seats, Restraints, Litters,
and Cockpit/Cabin Delethalization, Dec 1989.
USAAVSCOM TR 89-D-22E, Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide, Volume V - Aircraft Postcrash Survival, Dec
Taher, S.T; Mahdi, E; Mokhtar, A.S; Magid, D.L; Ahmadun, F.R; Arora, Prithvi Raj (2006),"A new composite energy
absorbing system for aircraft and helicopter", Composite Structures, 75: 14, doi:10.1016/j.compstruct.2006.04.083

External links
Army Helicopter Crashworthinessat DTIC
Basic Principle of Helicopter Crashworthinessat US Army Aeromedical Laboratory
National Crash Analysis Center
NHTSA Crashworthiness Rulemaking Activities
History of Energy Absorption Systems for Crashworthy Helicopter Seats
at FAA
MIT Impact and Crashworthiness Lab
School Bus Crashworthiness Research
Rail Equipment Crashworthiness

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