London, September 2 : A technique used in many NASA Mars rovers could be used to protect helicopters in emergency landings, by placing airbags on the underside of the choppers.
Several of NASA Mars rovers have successfully landed on Mars, protected from impact with the ground by sophisticated airbags.
Now, according to a report in New Scientist, the helicopter manufacturer Bell Helicopter based in Fort Worth, Texas, believes the same technique could be used to protect helicopters in emergency landings.
The bags would be fitted to the underside of a helicopter and deployed only when the vehicle is about to hit the ground at too high a velocity.
They would be able to help the helicopter in a crash landing, and keep a craft afloat if it ditches in the sea.
According to the company, the bags are also designed to reinflate after impact to act as flotation devices should the helicopter ditch in water.