The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory has transformed its NUH-60 Blackhawk simulator into a degraded visual environment (DVE) test bed capable of assessing integrated cueing technologies and their impact on flight performance. It is a unique simulator with the Lift Simulator Modernization Program database and is equipped with an enhanced brownout/whiteout model that replicates typical DVE conditions. The simulator is equipped with environmental temperature control and is a full-visual and full-motion simulator with six degrees-of-freedom. The flight simulator consists of a simulator compartment containing a cockpit, instructor/operator station, and observer station. It is equipped with eight Dell XIG visual image generator systems that simulate natural helicopter environments for day, dusk, night, and NVG with blowing sand or snow. The visual scenes data bases are created using satellite imagery of real-world locations. New sensor imaging capabilities produce realistic visuals that allow testing of DVE countermeasures. The simulator is equipped with USAARL’s Tactile Situation Awareness System (TSAS), which stimulates the pilot through belt-worn and seat-cushion “tactors” that vibrate to transmit through the sense of touch specific aircraft flight parameters such as drift, direction, and altitude. In addition, a glass cockpit façade allows UH-60 Mike model functionality. The simulator is now being used as part of the U.S. Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command’s DVE mitigation program.
Donald E. Swanberg, John G. Ramiccio, Deborah Russell, Kathryn A. Feltman, Aaron M. McAtee, Rolf Beutler, Angus H. Rupert, Ian P. Curry, Michael Wilson, and Thomas H. Harding, "Integrating DVE, cueing technologies, and pilot performance metrics into a research grade helicopter simulator," Proc. SPIE 10197, Degraded Environments: Sensing, Processing, and Display 2017, 101970J (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 5 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262214.
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