You ever wonder how airplane tools like flight recorders are tested? It turns out, the same way we test cars: We crash the hell out of them. This footage is of tests NASA recently conducted to test emergency beacons in aircraft, and it handily doubles as a great excuse to never get on anything smaller than a 747.
Emergency transponders are crucial to finding crashed aircraft, but often during light aircraft crashes, they’re so damaged they stop working. So to better test new designs, NASA hoists a plane up 100 feet and cuts it loose. We get to see the footage from multiple angles, although the one inside the test room, featuring the whole team surprised at what happens, is the most informative. You also see crash test dummies eat it right into the console at about the three minute mark, and at the four-minute mark, there’s an extremely slo-mo look at the wreck as the plane hits the dirt and turns into a steel banana. There’s even a photo gallery.
The good news is that NASA is doing this research not just to scare us into using commercial aviation, but to make aircraft safer in general. A lot of useful data has been collected from this test, and it will be safer to fly as a result. Still, if a friend asks you if you want to take a spin in his Cessna… maybe take a pass.