When NASA intentionally crashed a passenger jet, it somehow went even worse than expected

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Image: NASA

On Dec. 1, 1984, scientists from NASA and the FAA took a passenger jet out to the desert and crashed it on purpose.

The Controlled Impact Demonstration was an experiment to test a new fuel additive which could potentially reduce catastrophic fuel fires in a crash scenario. The FM-9 additive had shown promise in simulated impacts, but a real test was necessary.

NASA obtained an aging Boeing 720 for the project and brought it out to Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base in California

Crashing a jet was a rare opportunity. In addition to testing the fuel additive, scientists outfitted the cabin with an array of instruments for other survivability experiments, from new seat and luggage bin designs to fireproof materials. Read more…

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