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Wayne State professor Cynthia Bir crashes a plane in the name of science

September 27, 2012

Wayne State University professor and biomedical engineering researcher Cynthia Bir specializes in impacts. But her latest project undoubtedly produced the biggest bang of her career. Back in April, armed with an international team of researchers, Bir crashed a full-size passenger airplane into the remote desert along the U.S.-Mexico border, all in the name of science. The project was part of the Discovery Channel’s newest series, called Curiosity. 

This groundbreaking experiment looks at what actually happens during a plane crash and the science behind passengers’ best chance for survival.  Crash test dummies as well as sensors throughout the plane will reveal just what types of forces are unleashed in a typical plane crash.  Video footage from inside the remote-controlled plane will enable viewers to see what happens at the moment of impact.

"I'm so glad that Wayne State was able to lend our expertise to this exciting project,” Bir says. “It truly was a one-of-a-kind experiment with results that will have a lasting effect."  
 
Bir will discuss the show and her research on Good Morning America and Nightline on Monday, Oct. 1
 
The episode premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7. on the Discovery Channel. 
 
 
                 
 

 

 
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