The following is an excerpt from an article in the May 28 issue of The Wichita Eagle abouit Gerardo Olivares and John Tomblin of Wichita State University's National Institute for Aviation Research.
NIAR engineer a pioneer in virtual crash testing
Gerardo Olivares likes to crash-test dummies on a crash-test sled at the National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita.
He cranks them back, shoots them forward. Heads, arms and legs snap forward, and their waistlines collapse, crushed in painful-looking imitations of what happens when a body folds around a seat belt at high velocity.
He uses dummies, he said with a grin, "because it’s really hard to get live volunteers to ride the crash-test dummy sled."
Dummies do valuable work, as his boss, John Tomblin, said. But it is not the work that Olivares will be known for, Tomblin said.
Instead it is possible, Tomblin said, that Olivares will go down in aerospace history as the guy who showed how to do aerospace safety tests in 3D virtual models on a computer screen -- making dummies much less important than they are now and making costly physical tests less important.