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Electronic Bumper for Rotorcraft Brownout Approach and Landing

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Information Systems Laboratories, Inc.
10070 Barnes Canyon Road San Diego, CA 92121-2722
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Electronic Bumper for Rotorcraft Brownout Approach and Landing
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8650-09-C-1625
Award Amount: $1,247,620.00


The accident rate of helicopters immersed in a dust cloud represents a major contributor to loss of personnel and material in operations in a desert environment. Although measures such as approach profile changes and pilot training implemented to date have reduced this accident rate, it remains unacceptably high. Landing systems currently under development are designed to address this problem, but projected costs of these systems suggest fleet wide implementation is improbable. An affordable aid to the pilot promising a significant reduction in the brownout accident rate is needed. The focus of the program is affordability and reduction of accident rate, not to develop another landing system. The Bumper system consists of millimeter wave (MMW) radar and low cost GPS/IMU sensors providing pilots wideband, low-latency rate information and the relative position of obstructions adjacent to the helicopter. The system facilitates aircraft control allowing the pilot to position the aircraft as desired while obstacle information informs the pilot of areas he must avoid. While GPS/IMU sensor data has been in use in similar applications for some time and an extensive experience base exists, no such experience base exists for MMW radar, which is being addressed by this program. BENEFITS: Successful completion of this program will result in a cost-effective system that reduces the accident rate of rotorcraft operating in degraded visual environments (DVEs). While the proposed system is not a landing system, it would provide pilots the situational awareness need to safely land or execute a missed approach in DVEs. It will benefit both military and civillian users.

Principal Investigator:

Paul Techau
Vice President

Business Contact:

Nicole Sanese
Sr. Contract Administrato
Small Business Information at Submission:

10070 Barnes Canyon Road San Diego, CA 92121

EIN/Tax ID: 541198316
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No