Cockpit Air Bag System (CABS) for UH-60A/L
The U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) demonstrated the newly developed Cockpit Air Bag System (CABS) during Black Hawk helicopter flight tests.
Simula, November 18, 1999 - FORT RUCKER, Ala. - The U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) has successfully achieved a major milestone by demonstrating a newly developed Cockpit Air Bag System (CABS) during Black Hawk helicopter flight tests.
The CABS, developed by Simula, Inc. of Phoenix, AZ represents the latest advance in aviation safety technology -- a supplemental restraint system to prevent fatal and serious injuries to aircrew members during survivable aircraft crashes.
Two Army test pilots, Majors John Wright and Jeffery Trang, were able to maintain safe control of the aircraft when the forward air bag module was deployed during flight and hover. The helicopter flight test is an important milestone in the U.S. Army CABS development program because it demonstrates that safe flight can continue in the unlikely event that a combination of component failures should cause an inadvertent, or unwanted, deployment of the air bags. In fact, the pilots commented that the air bag deployment was ``no big deal.''
Steven Smith, Product Line Manager of Simula Inflatable Restraints Systems, stated, ``The safety of our aviators is paramount. We have designed the CABS System to be exceedingly reliable and meet or exceed all safety and operational requirements. The CABS should never inadvertently deploy during the life cycle of the aircraft. For safety considerations, in this test only one airbag was deployed at a time in front of the pilot in control of the aircraft. The test was uneventful, and demonstrated that in an unwarranted deployment of the forward airbag module, however unlikely, the aircrew can maintain safe control of the aircraft.''
Simula expects to complete qualification tests with the U.S. Army, and enter production of the Cockpit Air Bag System within the next year. Simula also has a separate contract with the U.S. Army to adapt the Black Hawk CABS for use on another rotorcraft in its fleet, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.
Over the past nine years, more than 30 aviators have died in crashes that the U.S. Army believed to be potentially survivable; another 11 pilots suffered serious injuries. The CABS provides aircrew protection by enveloping the pilots in air bags that cushion the head and upper torso from impact with sharp or protruding objects within the cockpit and from exterior intrusion that could lead to fatal injuries.
The CABS consists of air bag modules and a six-axis, omni-directional recording crash sensor developed by Simula Safety Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Simula, Inc. Primex Aerospace Company of Redmond, WA developed the inflators for the air bag system.
The CABS is more complex than conventional automotive systems because of the 3-dimensional nature of aircraft crashes. The system has been dynamically tested with anthropomorphic test dummies that range in size from the 5th percentile female to the 95th percentile male aviator with typical military gear, including chest armor and night vision equipment.
Simula, Inc. is known worldwide for its diversified technology and engineering capabilities in designing and manufacturing occupant safety systems and devices for air, ground, and sea vehicles. The company operates nine principal units that are aligned with its core technologies: government and defense, commercial transportation seating, automotive safety systems and research and development and testing. Other technical disciplines of the company include advanced parachutes, personal survival equipment, crash sensors, protective armor and advanced transparent polymer materials. Additional information about Simula can be found at its web site.