Advanced Air Mobility News

NASA Conducts eVTOL Crash Test

NASA Conducts eVTOL Crash Test

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted a crash test of a full-scale mockup electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft cabin this month, in a bid to study the safety of new advanced air mobility technology and to find out what might happen to passengers in the event of an emergency landing.

The crash test, which took place at the Landing and Impact Research facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, saw the test cabin loaded with six crash test dummies before being hoisted in the air and swung to the ground at an angle, emulating the way an eVTOL aircraft might crash due to a loss of propulsion.

Despite the mockup cabin having no wing, an overhead mass was added to represent the wing structure, rotor, and battery. The researchers also used dummies of various sizes to study how a crash might impact occupants of different ages. NASA also tested new energy-absorbing stroking seats as well as an energy-absorbing composite subfloor.

A video of the crash test was released by NASA, which showed the cabin sustaining damage following the crash. NASA deemed the crash test to be a success and will use data from the experiment to devise another drop test, scheduled for late 2023.

“The test was a great success for the crash-worthiness team at Langley,” said Justin Littell, a Research Assistant for NASA Langley’s Structural Dynamics Branch. “We successfully tested the eVTOL vehicle concept representing a six-passenger, high wing, overhead mass, multiple rotor vehicle, obtaining more than 200 channels of data, and collecting over 20 onboard and off-board camera views.”