Search and Rescue (SAR) teams and Special Operation Forces flying helicopters face a number of safety challenges because they have to fly at low altitudes and also in degraded visual environments (DVE), such as brown-out, white-out, and zero-light conditions.
Obstacles in the flight path or close to the flight path can be a threat to helicopters. They could include power lines, aerial cables, pylons, single trees and towers.
The threat of collision increases when the pilot has to fly low level and or in DVE such as brown-out, white-out and zero light conditions.
A night mission poses a number of challenges for Search and Rescue teams and Special Operation Forces flying helicopters. These include the fact there may be short time for pre-planning, even with known co-ordinates the terrain and conditions at the landing site may be unknown. Reconnaissance and tactical information may not be complete.
DVE is a constant threat and sudden changes in weather conditions may bring on a snow storm, heavy rain or fog.
It may also not be possible to do a fly-by for reconnaissance so the pilot needs to find and select a suitable landing spot at the first approach, possibly in DVE.
The Sferion training software can process and combine information from advanced sensors, information from databases and information arriving via data links and present it in a practical, easy to understand visual format.
IN DVE, a special system set up in the helicopter can generate visual clues for the pilot. In the most extreme cases the pilot can fly the helicopter while it would be impossible to fly without the visual aids. The result is better flight safety and certainty of mission success.
Sferion will be demonstrated throughout today in Airbus Defence and Space exhibition hall.