Upper Extremity Interaction With a Helicopter Side Airbag: Injury Criteria for Dynamic Hyperextension of the Female Elbow Joint
This paper describes a three part analysis to characterize the interaction between the female upper extremity and a helicopter cockpit side airbag system and to develop dynamic hyperextension injury criteria for the female elbow joint. Part I involved a series of 10 experiments with an original Army Black Hawk helicopter side airbag. A 5th percentile female Hybrid III instrumented upper extremity was used to demonstrate side airbag upper extremity loading. Two out of the 10 tests resulted in high elbow bending moments of 128 Nm and 144 Nm. Part II included dynamic hyperextension tests on 24 female cadaver elbow joints. The energy source was a drop tower utilizing a three-point bending configuration to apply elbow bending moments matching the previously conducted side airbag tests. Post-test necropsy showed that 16 of the 24 elbow joint tests resulted in injuries.