Fay Engineering

Welcome to our case studies and selected works. We hope you find this informative. 

Passing Maneuver Leads to a Fatal Crash

The driver of a semi-truck with two dirt hauling trailers slowed to make a left turn onto a narrow bridge over a canal and was struck on the left front wheel by an overtaking pickup driven by an impatient driver who had begun a high speed pass at the same time the truck started to turn. Both vehicles went into the canal and the driver and passenger of the pickup were killed.

The truck was being followed by a similar truck with two trailers and a third vehicle. The driver of the passing vehicle attempted to make a maneuver that was impossible to do safely because it was not possible to see the turn signal of the turning truck or to know why the truck was slowing. The driver of the truck could not see the approaching pickup in the mirror that was no longer directed to the rear after the start of the turn and believed the oncoming lane was being occupied by the oncoming traffic that had passed. He was unaware of the pickup until the impact occurred.

The visualization of the accident provided a visual data base that correlated the motions of the vehicles and provided the actual views of the drivers and revealed that the witness driver of the third vehicle was unable to see the truck when it initiated its turn and mistakenly believed that the pickup had begun to pass before the truck initiated its turn.

The experts at Fay Engineering helped the parties involved understand the value of their case; our client was able to settle for a small fraction of the demand.

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Motorcyclist and Tandem Trailer Accident

Synchronized computer visualizations views of an accident help explain variations in witness recollections.

In this case, the truck driver knew from experience that his truck could safely exit the quarry by starting the before the traffic light at the intersection turned green. The different witness perspectives and the traffic camera recording confirmed the motorcycle was traveling in excess of the speed limit and had crossed the stop bar just as the light changed.
       These videos illustrate the event from five different perspectives.

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Railroad Conductor Steps into Path of Oncoming Train

Our in-house graphics department uses a human motion capture system to aid in the reconstruction of accidents that involve people in motion.

In April, 2014, Patrick Fay and his team traveled to a railyard in Boone, IA, to analyze an accident involving a railroad conductor who was severely injured when he stepped into the path of an oncoming train. The motion capture suit allowed the team to reenact the dangerous event without putting anyone in danger.

The accident occurred in the middle of the night when a railroad conductor was assembling a freight train in the railyard. He was working next to the main line where a through-train was headed toward him at 50 mph. The team reconstructed the conductor’s actions as he dismounted his stopped locomotive, with his back to the approaching train, and raised his arm to signal a crew member with a lantern.

Five locomotives in the yard had cameras that captured different parts of the accident, but none of them told the whole story. Fay and his team studied them all frame-by-frame, especially the video that showed the conductor’s actions leading up to the accident.

Since he happened to be the same height and weight as the conductor, Fay himself wore the motion capture suit for the reenactment. With the trains stopped and staged in place for the reenactment, he climbed down to the ground, turned, and raised the lantern, bringing his arm in contact with the other locomotive. The resulting motion data, along with the pertinent videos and train speed information were all combined into a single movie that shows what happened.
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​Vapors Ignite in Flash Fire

Flammable liquids pumped from an oil well splash out from a flat tank.  Expelled flammable vapors resulted in a flash fire.   The flash fire occurred due to unsafe setup and improper clearances.

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Propane Refinery Storage Tank Explosion

Hose coupling failed causing excessive fuel flow.  Fuel was ignited by operating truck 80 feet away.  Tanker launched into the air and landed on refinery storage tanks.

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Garage Heater Fire

Wooden shelving unit installed too close to a pre-existing radiant heater.

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Teenager's car is pushed in front of a train by boyfriend's pickup.

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Distracted Pedestrian

An impact occurs in a parking lot when a distracted pedestrian walks into the path of a car.

This video shows the pedestrian's ability to see oncoming traffic. Had she chosen to look both ways before crossing, the accident could have been avoided. 
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Events leading up to a motor-home fire caused by human error.

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Motorcyclist was Headed for an Accident - Visualization

This motorcyclist was headed for an accident, even if the pickup truck had not been on the road.

If the motorcycle had not hit the pickup truck after crossing the yellow line, he would have run off the road and into the trees.

By combining the expertise of the Fay Engineering graphics department and a mechanical engineer, an accurate visualization was created to explain the facts of the case.

Once the parties in this case viewed the results of the reconstruction and the visualization of the facts, the case quickly settled. Visualizations can be done in a cost-effective manner with the highest level of mathematical accuracy. In this example, client resources were preserved by modifying stock images from our library of images.

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