Military helicopter operations are often constrained by environmental conditions, including low light levels and poor weather. This may include blowing sand (brown-out) or snow (white-out). In these conditions aircraft control can be very challenging with reduced visual references for the pilots. In a program sponsored by the MOD a prototype Day Night All Weather system has been developed, using an incremental flight test programme. This led to the flight assessment of a fully integrated pilotage display solution, trial HAWKOWL, installed in a Sea King helicopter. The on-board system comprised several sub-systems including: a multi-spectral sensor suite; image processing and fusion; head down and helmet mounted displays; mission planning and route generation; precision navigation; dynamic flight path guidance; and conformal, task dependent, symbology.
Trial HAWKOWL was conducted at MOD Boscombe Down, from November 2006 to March 2007 and consisted of 44 hours of flight testing. Pilots from the UK Rotary Wing Test Squadron and Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) flew trials sorties to evaluate the system for pilotage, terrain avoidance, approach and hover. In addition, they evaluated real-time adaptive image fusion. This presentation will describe the methodology used in the system design, implementation, and testing, and present the key results and the lessons learned from the flight trial.
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Sqn Ldr Dave Marsden is an experimental test pilot at the Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS), Boscombe Down. He has an engineering degree from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and has served in the RAF since 1992. He flew operational tours on the Puma HC1 in the support helicopter role and Sea King Mk3a in the Search and Rescue role. He joined RWTS in Aug 2005 on completion of the French test pilot’s school. He was the project-pilot for the Day Night All Weather (DNAW) helicopter research programme, and is currently a project pilot on Sea King, Puma and Chinook aircraft.
Pete Longman is an avionics systems trials officer working for QinetiQ at Boscombe Down with over 18 years experience in research, development and integration of advanced aircraft systems. He has undertaken a wide range of unique research projects which have included; conducting the first UK fast-jet Visually Coupled System assessment and the first UK airborne integration and evaluation of a monocular HMD along with supporting the introduction to service of the Jaguar GR3a Helmet Mounted Sight System. He was responsible for the DNAW helicopter operations research project, a joint project in conjunction with the Canadian National Research council in Ottawa.
CW5 Nolan G. Beck is an experimental test pilot at the Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS), Boscombe Down. He has served in the US Army for over 22 years and holds rotary-wing and fixed-wing ratings. His operational assignments include assault and support helicopter roles, primarily in the UH-60 Black Hawk. He attended the US Naval Test Pilot School in 2001 and has worked on a variety of night vision projects including wide field-of-view night vision goggles (NVG), NVG Head-Up Displays, and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems. He joined RWTS in 2005 where he was involved in the HAWKOWL research program.
Source: The Royal Aeronautical Society
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