Controlled Impact DemonstrationADDPMP511
The Controlled Impact Demonstration (or colloquially the Crash In the Desert) was a joint project between NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that intentionally crashed a remotely controlled Boeing 720 aircraft to acquire data and test new technologies to aid passenger and crew survival. The crash required more than four years of preparation by NASA Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, the FAA, and General Electric. After numerous test runs, the plane was crashed on December 1, 1984. The test went generally according to plan, and produced a spectacular fireball that required more than an hour to extinguish.
The FAA concluded that about one-quarter of the passengers would have survived, that the antimisting kerosene test fuel did not sufficiently reduce the risk of fire, and that several changes to equipment in the passenger compartment of aircraft were needed. NASA concluded that a head-up display and microwave landing system would have helped the pilot more safely fly the aircraft.