HAMPTON(AP) -- NASA researchers are examining reams of data they collected after test-dropping a military helicopter about 30 feet from the air.

The experiment Wednesday at Langley Research Center in Hampton involved a 45-foot-long fuselage from a former Marine helicopter that was dropped onto a bed of soil at about 30 miles per hour. NASA officials say the impact conditions represented a severe but survivable crash.

Nearly 40 cameras positioned inside and outside the helicopter recorded how 15 crash test dummies reacted before, during and after impact. Researchers are studying improved seat belts, among other things.

The test was a joint effort of NASA, the Navy, Army and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The research ultimately will be used to try to design better and safer helicopters.

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