NASA Plans to Crash Plane for Science

Aboard will be five emergency locator transmitters, data-collecting sensors – and two crash-test dummies, NASA said.


General aviation and commercial planes carry emergency locator transmitters that should work in the extreme circumstances and broadcast a location signal in the event of a crash.

On August. 26, NASA will put new emergency location transmitters to the test when they drop an airplane outfitted with the devices.

The third crash will be staged on Wednesday at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia between 1 and 2 p.m. It will be streamed live online at NASA TV.

Orbiting satellites are being sent that signal by current ELT models. The signal is then reflected to the search and rescue (SAR) ground station.

NASA’s research is aiming to find practical ways to improve ELTs by testing how they react to excessive vibration, fire and impact damage. The endeavor will certainly help rescuers save many lives. It will eventually crash with its tail down into soil.

The latest trial is the last of three crash tests conducted on three different Cessna 172s, under varying conditions. During the first test, a plane was dropped from about 80 feet and came in at nose level on concrete.


In the second test, the aircraft was crashed nose down on to soil from 100ft height.

NASA to crash airplane to test emergency locator transmitters next week