Press Release

Media Invited to See Next-Gen Airframe Concept Testing

By SpaceRef Editor
June 26, 2017
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Media are invited to watch NASA researchers drop test a jet fuselage cross-section with 10 crash dummies on board Thursday, June 29, at Langley’s historic gantry facility in Hampton, Virginia.

Media interested in covering the test should contact Bob Allen by telephone at (757) 864-6176 or email at no later than noon on Thursday, June 29.

The crash test is part of a joint NASA and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) research project. This is the second drop test conducted this year. The first occurred in March.

“We’re working with the FAA to update the requirements for the testing of next generation airframe concepts – especially those that may include composite materials,” said Martin Annett, NASA Langley crash test engineer.

“We’re looking at gathering data on regional jet-sized aircraft and how they perform, particularly metallic planes,” said Joseph Pellettiere, FAA chief scientist and technical advisor for crash dynamics. “That way we can develop a set of baseline data that we can use to compare when we look at new and novel designs that might use different materials.”

In the test, a fuselage cross-section taken from above the wing of a regional jet aircraft will be suspended by cables at a five-degree angle and dropped from 14.5 feet. It will impact a dirt surface angled at 10 degrees travelling about 30 feet per second.

The 10 crash test dummies buckled up on board are fitted with transducers that will allow engineers to measure the loads and strains on their “bodies” from the force of the drop. The fuselage is also equipped with instruments to measure how the structure withstands the impact.

The gantry — a 240-foot-high, 400-foot-long, 265-foot-wide A-frame steel structure now known as the Landing and Impact Research Facility — was built in 1963 to model lunar gravity. Originally named the Lunar Landing Research Facility, the gantry became operational in 1965 and allowed astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to train for Apollo 11’s final 150 feet before landing on the moon.

To view the March 2017 drop test:

To learn more about Langley’s Landing and Impact Research Facility, visit:

To learn more about NASA’s Langley Research Center, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.