1788. Crashworthiness Vs. Airworthiness


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P F Kaufman: 1788. Crashworthiness Vs. Airworthiness. 1987.



As a flight safety engineer, I issue flight clearances for locally modified aircraft based on safety of flight and airworthiness standards. But even though the installations will pass all standards, can this aircraft and the R&D installation survive a ”survivable” crash? Are these standards really providing us with a level of acceptable survivability? In this paper, I have examined reports from the FAA, NTSB, NASA/Dryden Space Flight Center and various Navy labs. I have contacted and interviewed many professional people in the aircraft industry. The purpose of this paper was to establish criteria for the factors that are most evident in survivable aircraft crashes and then ask are we applying this knowledge to making the aircraft environment safer in event of a crash? Since most of the studies are heavily weighted towards commercial airline crashes, I had to extract information applicable to military aircraft and those basic principles that are common to both. The main aircraft of interest are the Navy’s P-3 aircraft. I examined statistics and results of airline crashes, human factors studies, energy attenuation concepts and cause of death factors. I related the resultant factors to the design criteria in an effort to examine the standards for adequacy.


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