Injury in U.S. army helicopter crashes october 1979-september 1985

Dennis F. Shanahan, Maureen O. Shanahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


All U.S. Army class A and B mishaps of four types of helicopters occurring from 1 October 1979 through 30 September 1985 were reviewed. During this 6-year period, there were 298 crashes involving 303 aircraft. There were 1, 060 individuals aboard the crashed aircraft and 611 were injured, 136 fatally. The most common cause of injury was the “secondary impact” caused by collapse of structure into occupied areas, by inadequate restraint of the occupants which allowed them to flail into structure, or by a combination of both mechanisms. Injury solely related to acceleration occurred infrequently. The most frequently injured body regions in survivable crashes were the head (28%) and extremities (43%). Injury patterns are compared for different helicopter types and related to differences in design. Basic principles of crash injury protection, including individual protection by helmets, seatbelts, and airbags, and structural modifications to minimize injury potential, as well as crashworthy fuel systems, are reviewed, and recommendations are made to increase the crashworthiness of helicopters, such as adapting designs and standards on the basis of active Held investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Surgery

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