Development of a Crashworthy Composite Fuselage Concept 2000-01-2097
An innovative composite fuselage concept for light aircraft has been developed to provide improved crash protection. The fuselage consists of a relatively rigid upper section, or passenger cabin, including a stiff structural floor and a frangible lower section that encloses the crash energy management structure. The development of the fuselage concept is described including the fabrication of a 60-in. diameter full-scale fuselage section that is manufactured using a composite sandwich construction. Drop tests of the fuselage section were performed at 372-in/s vertical velocity for both 0°- and 15°-roll impact attitudes to evaluate the crashworthy features of the fuselage design. The experimental data are correlated with analytical predictions from a crash simulation developed using the nonlinear, explicit transient dynamic finite element code, MSC/DYTRAN.