A Simulation Evaluation of VFR Heliport Operations in an Obstacle-Rich Environment
A study was conducted to investigate the impacts of obstacles on pilot performance, workload, and perceptions of safety in a visual flight rule (VFR) obstacle-rich environment (ORE). The study was conducted using a piloted simulation of a single-rotor, multi-engine helicopter operating in a highly detailed urban visual scene database. The database contained multiple obstacle types, with variable obstacle heights and densities. Nine pilots completed the approaches and departures into and out of a heliport located in the center of the generic urban environment. Two flight routes offered unique presentations of terrain and obstacle types. Obstacle height/density and time of day/lighting parameters were systematically manipulated. A multi-dimensional data collection methodology employing the simultaneous collection of direct aircraft state, pilot performance data, pilot physiological data and pilot subjective responses was employed.