Operational Shocks and Crash Safety

RTCA DO-160 – Section 7.0 – Operational Shocks and Crash Safety


The operational shock test verifies that the equipment will continue to function within performance standards after exposure to shocks experienced during normal aircraft operations.
These shocks may occur during taxiing, landing or when the aircraft encounters sudden gusts in flight. This test applies to all equipment installed on fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Two operational shock test curves are provided; a standard 11 ms pulse and a low frequency 20 ms pulse. The 20 ms pulse may not be adequate to test against the effect of longer duration shocks on equipment that have its lowest resonance frequency (as per section 8) below 100 Hz. For such equipment, a pulse of 100 ms duration should be considered.
The crash safety test verifies that certain equipment will not detach from its mountings or separate in a manner that presents a hazard during an emergency landing.
It applies to equipment installed in compartments and other areas of the aircraft where hazard to occupants, fuel systems or emergency evacuation equipment. These tests do not satisfy FAR requirements for all equipment, e.g. seats and seat restraints.
NOTE: For fixed-wing aircraft: a complete installation demonstration, i.e. including aircraft acceleration loads (such as flight maneuvering, gust and landing) in addition to the crash safety loads, may be accomplished by using the “Unknown or Random” orientations for the “sustained” test procedure. Using a dummy load on the shock test apparatus may be necessary to ensure that the recorded shock pulse will be within the specified tolerances of Figure 7-2.
Category A: Equipment tested for standard operational shocks.
Category B: Equipment tested for standard operational shock and crash safety.
Category D: Equipment tested for low-frequency operational shock.
Category E: Equipment tested for low-frequency operational shock and low frequency crash safety.