NIA Research Fellow Creating Dynamic Crash Models

NIA Research Fellow Creating Dynamic Crash Models

Ed Fasanella, Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), is a member of a three-person team at LaRC working to create dynamic finite element crash models that correlate with actual drop tests. On Wednesday, July 29, the Emergency Locator Transmitter Search and Rescue (ELSTAR) program, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and managed by NASA Goddard, conducted its second crash test at Langley. The purpose of the tests is to study how well emergency locator transmitters positioned throughout the aircraft hold up during a crash. Efforts are being made to create a crash-resistant beacon that will help rescuers quickly locate a wreckage. For each test, a Cessna 172 was dropped from the NASA LaRC Landing and Impact Research Facility. The initial test was done on concrete; the second test onto dirt. A crucial component to the tests includes both modeling of the soil and the airplane’s impact on the soil. For this second test, Fasanella supervised a team who took soil measurements to determine soil density, moisture content, and soil strength with depth. The data will be used to improve the dynamic models. The third and final test is scheduled for August.

To view the CBS news coverage of the crash test, visit: and



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