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Emergency Locator Transmitter System Performance During Three Full-Scale General Aviation Crash TestsFull-scale crash tests were conducted on three Cessna 172 aircraft at NASA Langley Research Center's Landing and Impact Research facility during the summer of 2015. The purpose of the three tests was to evaluate the performance of commercially available Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) systems and support development of enhanced installation guidance. ELTs are used to provide location information to Search and Rescue (SAR) organizations in the event of an aviation distress situation, such as a crash. The crash tests simulated three differing severe but survivable crash conditions, in which it is expected that the onboard occupants have a reasonable chance of surviving the accident and would require assistance from SAR personnel. The first simulated an emergency landing onto a rigid surface, while the second and third simulated controlled flight into terrain. Multiple ELT systems were installed on each airplane according to federal regulations. The majority of the ELT systems performed nominally. In the systems which did not activate, post-test disassembly and inspection offered guidance for non-activation cause in some cases, while in others, no specific cause could be found. In a subset of installations purposely disregarding best practice guidelines, failure of the ELT-to-antenna cabling connections were found. Recommendations for enhanced installation guidance of ELT systems will be made to the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Special Committee 229 for consideration for adoption in a future release of ELT minimum operational performance specifications. These recommendations will be based on the data gathered during this test series as well as a larger series of crash simulations using computer models that will be calibrated based on these data
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Littell, Justin D.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Stimson, Chad M.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
July 26, 2016
Publication Date
July 1, 2016
Subject Category
Research And Support Facilities (Air)
Air Transportation And Safety
Structural Mechanics
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 736466.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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