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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 13578
Last updated: 31 January 2020
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Date:23-JUN-1972
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain
Owner/operator:Piper Aircraft Corporation
Registration: N none *
C/n / msn: 31-7305002
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Lock Haven, PA (KLHV), in flood -   United States of America
Phase: Standing
Nature:Unknown
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Static test airframe only. The Lock Haven facility was nearly destroyed on June 23, 1972 when torrential rains from Hurricane Agnes caused the Susquehanna River to flood. The manufacturing plant was flooded to a depth of 16 feet (4.9 metres), effectively destroying about 100 aircraft and causing an estimated $23 million in damage.

At the same time (June 1972) the NASA Lunar Landing Research Facility was no longer in use for its original purpose. The 400-foot high structure was swiftly modified to allow engineers to study the dynamics of aircraft crashes. After the flood, Piper gave 32 written-off PA-28s, PA-31s and PA-23 Aztecs to NASA, which used them for crash tests at the Langley Research Center, using a rig originally built to simulate spacecraft landings on the moon for the Apollo program.

The Impact Dynamics Research Facility is used to conduct crash testing of full-scale aircraft under controlled conditions. The aircraft are swung by cables from an A-frame structure that is approximately 400 ft. long and 230 foot high. The impact runway can be modified to simulate other grand crash environments, such as packed dirt, to meet a specific test requirement.

In 1972, NASA and the FAA embarked on a cooperative effort to develop technology for improved crash-worthiness and passenger survivability in general aviation aircraft with little or no increase in weight and acceptable cost. A number of Piper PA-31 airframes, which had been irreparably damaged in the flood of Piper's Lock Haven factory on June 23, 1972 were used in the program

Since then, NASA has "crashed" dozens of GA aircraft by using the lunar excursion module (LEM) facility originally built for the Apollo program.

Sources:

1. World Airliner Crashes/Terry Denham
2. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19790025001
3. https://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/1297
4. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1972/1972%20-%201702.html
5. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1972/1972%20-%201901.html

Impact Landing Dynamics Facility Crash Test - GPN-2000-001907

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
22-Aug-2010 06:11 TB Updated [Date, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative]
07-Jun-2013 10:43 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Location, Narrative]
21-Sep-2017 15:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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