Dan Wheldon dead

Spectre

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If memory serves, the F-16 canopy is opened and closed by a big powered arm attached at the rear. It should be (relatively) easy to have something like that (unpowered) on the back of a car canopy - perhaps with a pull pin inside that the driver could reach back and pull (much like certain ejector seat handles) to disconnect the canopy from the arm, then kick the canopy off. Also have external pull pin on the part where it mounts to the car that a marshal could pull/hammer off from outside (as the F-16 does) to have the entire thing just detach from the car in a couple of seconds.
 
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MWF

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I think I'd prefer the more rapid option of something that could be triggered rather than a part-time dude in an orange jumpsuit wandering up and going :clarkson: "Where are my hammers?"

;)
 

Spectre

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I think I'd prefer the more rapid option of something that could be triggered rather than a part-time dude in an orange jumpsuit wandering up and going :clarkson: "Where are my hammers?"

;)
Many track safety crews already have tools like axes and hammers to help extract drivers from wrecked cars.

The pull pins I'm thinking of would be something like these:


You can pre-weaken those so that in the event of a crash and the thing bending so it can't be withdrawn normally, you can whack the head off with a hammer (or a good kick) and whatever it's securing can be removed.
 
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Hazardous

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The main problem with canopy: What happens if the car ends up upside down? To my understanding hydroplanes have an escape hatch on the floor so that a driver can exit if the boat ends up on it's lid, but creating something like that for a car would be rather tricky.

I am not saying a canopy would be a bad idea. However, hydroplane racing is not directly comparable with open-wheel race cars since the elements involved are so different.

edit: Canopies, roll-bars and other similar solutions were talked about in the aftermath of Greg Moore's accident and also after the accidents of Henry Surtees and Felipe Massa. I would assume that top F1 engineers and FIA would have done work after those to evaluate such a solution, and yet they decided against it. I don't know why but I am fairly sure the reason is that the cons of having a canopy or something like that still outweight the pros.
 
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Spectre

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The main problem with canopy: What happens if the car ends up upside down? To my understanding hydroplanes have an escape hatch on the floor so that a driver can exit if the boat ends up on it's lid, but creating something like that for a car would be rather tricky.

I am not saying a canopy would be a bad idea. However, hydroplane racing is not directly comparable with open-wheel race cars since the elements involved are so different.
Not a lot changes in terms of steps needed to get the driver out.

If car is truly upside down-
Now: Roll car back upright or at least on its side.
With canopy: Roll car back upright or at least on its side.

The difference is that the driver has a better chance of survival if he has a canopy.

The reason the hydroplane guys have a hatch in the bottom of the hull is because the boat is probably busy sinking if it's upside down and they're not especially interested in a one way trip to Davy Jones' Locker. That isn't the case for cars, or if the car is sinking into the earth, you have a totally different and much worse set of problems...
 

Zesty

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Sorry to butt into discussion about whether protective canopies would be a workable solution or not, but I only just heard about this on our national news as I have been away from the internet for a while. I have never followed IRL in my life at all, but hearing about this is just really saddening and a timely reminder that motor-sports will always be dangerous. It's always so sad to see a young, talented, successful person loose their life like this, and leave their friends, family, colleagues and fans behind. R.I.P Dan Wheldon. :cry:
 

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Not a lot changes in terms of steps needed to get the driver out.

If car is truly upside down-
Now: Roll car back upright or at least on its side.
With canopy: Roll car back upright or at least on its side.
No. It is fairly easy to crawl out from under a toppled formula car. One Indy Lights driver flipped a couple years ago at Infineon (practically right in front of me) and he clambered out within 5 seconds.

It takes me about the same time to escape a production car through the window (undo belts, window net).

I'm also still not convinced the canopy would've done anything. Fire a tire at the roll hoop (part of the frame of the car) and see what damage that does - my guess is not much. The roll hoop was pretty much gone from Dan's car.
 

Spectre

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No. It is fairly easy to crawl out from under a toppled formula car. One Indy Lights driver flipped a couple years ago at Infineon (practically right in front of me) and he clambered out within 5 seconds.
Lorenzo Bandini and Roger Williamson would disagree with you. Well, if they were still alive they would - and those cars were easier to exit than current ones, having larger and wider cockpits.

Also, the type of roll bar this chassis had (which, sadly, was the older type which was being completely phased out in favor of safer designs for next year) is 4130 chrome-moly steel, true. But it's bolted directly to the carbon fiber tub, which was already compromised by the initial impact. Carbon fiber is immensely strong but once it starts to crack, you're hosed. Bolting or attaching things to carbon fiber is always an area of stress and potential trouble spots - even if you support it with steel gussets (aka small backing plates) as the regs require.

I wouldn't be surprised if the vertical support of the fence went in low on the chassis and undercut the roll bar entirely, because it looks like the whole dorsal structure was sheared off, not just crushed. In which case, a canopy might have made a difference. Aircraft-canopy grade polycarbonate is actually much stronger than your typical CF sheet or even tub - it just weighs a lot more.

Still, all this is speculation until the official reports get released later. Would that we didn't have to have these things happen to figure this stuff out. :(
 
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Karoug

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edit: Canopies, roll-bars and other similar solutions were talked about in the aftermath of Greg Moore's accident and also after the accidents of Henry Surtees and Felipe Massa. I would assume that top F1 engineers and FIA would have done work after those to evaluate such a solution, and yet they decided against it. I don't know why but I am fairly sure the reason is that the cons of having a canopy or something like that still outweight the pros.
Yes, the FIA decided to strengthen the helmet itself instead, but i don't think that would have helped in Dan Wheldon's tragic accident.
 

Strelok16

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Damn, what a shock it was hearing this on the news earlier. Motorsports safety has improved to such a point that this sort of thing is kept out of our minds most of the time, but we do still get such terrible reminders that racing is inherently dangerous from time to time. RIP. :(
 

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I'm just going to say, it irritates me a bit when fly-by-night engineers come up with "solutions" right after any fatality in motor racing. Things might change, they might not, and sometime soon you might find footage of the new tub being fired at fencework to see how strong the roll hoop structure is, who knows. Just chill out and have some respect, the entire industry is mourning right now, just calm down.

R.I.P. Dan.

Lorenzo Bandini and Roger Williamson would disagree with you. Well, if they were still alive they would - and those cars were easier to exit than current ones, having larger and wider cockpits.
Bandini was in a '67 Ferrari and struck a lightpost, and with having no airbox above his head he was trapped. Completely different car from today. Same goes for Williamson, his car is completely different from the cars of today, you're comparing apples to pears to oranges with that one.
 

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Rest in peace, Dan. I wish I knew you and your sport more.
 

Thaw Daggerslash

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Geez, show some respect. An incredibly talented driver just died...

Incredibly sad day. Nice to see the motorsport community (most of it at least) is pulling together this week.

R.I.P Dan Wheldon. Gone but never forgotten.
 

vikiradTG2007

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Watched the 5-lap salute for the third time today... it's a painful moment for every motorsport fan to hear of such events, but that run around the track, in Indy 500 grid formation, and the music in the background as well was as classy a tribute by IndyCar and its drivers as is humanly possible. Fantastically emotional.
 

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Watched the 5-lap salute for the third time today... it's a painful moment for every motorsport fan to hear of such events, but that run around the track, in Indy 500 grid formation, and the music in the background as well was as classy a tribute by IndyCar and its drivers as is humanly possible. Fantastically emotional.
 

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This truly is a dark day in motorsports.

http://jalopnik.com/5850330/rick-huseman-off+road-racing-champion-dies-in-plane-crash

Rick Huseman, off-road racing champion, dies in plane crash

Champion off-road racer Rick Huseman was killed this afternoon in a plane crash near Barstow, California. While unrelated to the death of Dan Wheldon, it's another sad occasion in what will long be remembered as a dark day in motorsports history.

The accident occurred approximately 2:00 pm Sunday afternoon when the plane, a Beechcraft 33 Bonanza, was attempting to make an emergency landing at the Barstow/Dagget Airport. Huseman and his family were returning from the Monster Energy Cup held in Las Vegas last night. According to DIRTNewz, his younger brother Jeff was one of the three people killed. It's unclear who the third victim is.

Huseman has been racing 1997 and was the first PRO4X4 Traxxas TORC Series Championship in 2009, garnering six wins and 10 podium finishes. In 2010, Husman won the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro-4 Championship. He was in second place in the 2011 Lucas Oil Series following the most recent race in Arizona, just 23 points behind the leader.

Huseman was 38 years old.
 

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Rest in peace Dan... :(

Interesting discussion about safety, but... maybe we should create a "Ways to improve safety in motorsport" thread? It feels like this thread is being unintentionally hijacked.

(apologies if there is already another thread about safety)
 

vikiradTG2007

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Interesting discussion about safety, but... maybe we should create a "Ways to improve safety in motorsport" thread? It feels like this thread is being unintentionally hijacked.
It has been hijacked, and I feel that such discussions are not yet appropriate until we actually know what happened in that accident. 15 cars crashing together is a mess, it'll take some time before everything is sorted out and we know how it started, what went on and how the fatal incident actually took place. Only then can we properly debate what measures can/may be taken in order to prevent anything like this happening again. Anything up to that is mere speculation.
 
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