Classic Case - Mast Bumping in Huey and Cobra Helicopters (Epilogue)

Mast Bumping in Huey and Cobra Helicopters (Epilogue)


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  • Product Description

    The Huey and Cobra US Army helicopters carried thousands of American soldiers during the war in Vietnam. Developed by the Bell Helicopter Company, they were, by and large, safe and reliable. But, both in combat and in peacetime use following Vietnam, the crafts were prone to fatal crashes, not fully explainable. Investigations pointed to the possibility of "mast bumping," a malfunction in which the helicopter blade strikes the mast on which it rotates, precipitating a crash. The "mast bumping" case examines the ways in which the military -- first the army, later the army and navy -- sought to come to grips with a design flaw in a generally reliable machine. It recounts both an internal army investigation during the 70's, which culminated with a decision not to force Bell Helicopter to change its design, and a subsequent investigation -- following press accounts and a crash in which there was, for the first time, a survivor -- which culminated in a decision to force Bell to make design changes.

    Learning Objective:
    The case raises such issues as the economic value of human life and the effects of the press on government decision-making.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1988
    HKS Case Number: 800.1
    Case Author: Vlad Jenkins
    Faculty Lead: Michael O'Hare
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 5
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
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