Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) Symbology for Rotocraft Degraded Visual Environments
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-157
Topic Title: Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) Symbology for Rotocraft Degraded Visual Environments
Proposal No.: N082-157-0695
Firm: JXT Applications, Inc.
1195 Meadow Bridge Drive, Suite C
Beavercreek, Ohio 45434-4302
Contact: Robert Shaw
Phone: (937) 306-5003
Web Site: www.jxtai.com
Abstract: "Brownout" is a dangerous phenomenon in which a rotorcraft's downwash creates its own degraded visual environment (DVE) by throwing dust, sand, and other loose debris into the air around the aircraft, severely limiting or obscuring the pilots' view of the landing environment. During a recent fiscal year, the U.S. Army determined that 75% of aviation Class A mishaps in Operation Iraqi Freedom were attributed to this phenomenon. The objective of this research effort is to determine the feasibility of integrating symbology into a helmet-mounted display (HMD) to aid rotorcraft pilots in day/night brownout/DVE conditions, and identify the steps needed to develop this technology for aviation applications. The feasibility of such an approach depends on the development of effective, intuitive HMD symbology that provides the pilot with the data required to facilitate rotorcraft landing operations. One of the challenges of this development will be determining and mitigating the effects of the expected wide variations in day/night brownout/DVE background condition against which the HMD symbology will be viewed. HMD display symbology for this application must provide high contrast against the background, with low intensity and eye strain, particularly with night vision devices.
Benefits: Rotorcraft operations in "brownout" and other degraded visual environment (DVE) conditions, both day and night, are recognized as contributing to a majority of serious accidents in current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. All military and commercial rotorcraft operators may be faced with operating in these conditions at some time. The technology to be developed under this proposed effort has the potential to make these operations safer by improving the pilots' situation awareness and ability to monitor aircraft flight parameters more precisely during the critical landing phase under day/night brownout/DVE conditions. This technology will have wide application across the U.S. military rotorcraft fleets of the USMC, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as foreign militaries. In addition, there should be widespread interest among civil operators of rotorcraft, including police, medical evacuation, news agencies, off-shore oil platform operations, fire fighting, geological surveys, air taxi, etc.