Human Factors Challenges at the Helicopter-Ship Dynamic Interface 1999-01-5607
The paper takes a total systems approach to the human factors challenges at the helicopter-ship dynamic interface. It examines the problems of operating large helicopters from small ships in all weather conditions from the start of the mission to completion with due emphasis on the launch and recovery phases. Research taking place at DERA Bedford in support of current and future naval operations is outlined. Although the prime focus is Royal Navy Anti-submarine Warfare operations, the paper also considers present and future maritime and marinised helicopter types.
The paper is written from the perspective of developing requirements and reducing risk by demonstrating technical solutions. The main focus of the paper is the recovery from completion of task to securing in the ship’s hangar. It addresses the aspects of automatic flight path management and flight control systems and the role of automation during the recovery process, particularly in the case of the single pilot aircraft. The performance advantages for the landing task at night and in poor visibility provided by ship mounted visual aids, both passive and active/sensor-based, are reviewed as is the use of Helmet Mounted Displays and modified aircraft head down cockpit displays.
The paper reviews the requirements, use of and the potential benefits of high fidelity simulation of all the elements of the helicopter-ship interface - the helicopter, the ship and the effects of the environment, including ship motion, airwake and reduced visual cues due to fog, spray and snow, for example. It also considers the role of piloted flight simulation in establishing the optimum handling requirements for maritime helicopters, supporting military aircraft release and predicting likely ship helicopter operating limits, the procurement specification of new types, practising new roles and procedures and continuation training.
Problems associated with securing the helicopter on deck before launch and after recovery, rearming and refuelling and manoeuvring on deck are also discussed.