One of the best ways to improve something is to fail at something and try to figure out what went wrong. Another is to just break something down and try to build it back up. For NASA, they blew up a jetliner.
It’s an experiment that an eight-year-old aviation fanatic might concoct: What if we crammed a remote-controlled jetliner with special fuel and crashed it into the ground—just so—in order to ignite its gas tanks?
That’s exactly what NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration did 35 years ago, in one of the most visually arresting safety tests ever performed. Spoiler alert: The test helped change the way we fly for the better, but not the way its architects envisioned.
(Image credit: NASA)