Force Feedback, Virtual Fixtures, and Reality Registration for Mid-Air Refueling

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 32228
Amount: $746,284.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1997
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
727 Airport Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Thomas M. Peurach
 (313) 668-2567
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
Mid-Air refueling raises many issues including load alleviation, guidance and control, and nozzle docking. Some of these issues have been addressed in the KC-10 designs (automatic load alleviation), but because the fleet of KC-135s is so large (ten times that of the KC-10s), technologies which improve the safety and efficiency of KC-135s, as well as KC-10s, is a research problem that is of extreme interest to the USAF. Current systems require the boomer (the person controlling the refueling arm) to fly the boom (the arm which attaches to the plane to refuel) down to the nozzle on the receiving aircraft. This is a difficult task and can result in unsafe loads on the boom and possible damage to the receiving aircraft during docking. Because of the large existing functional fleet, a significant redesign of the refueling systems is difficult and not economical. Consequently, we propose core component technologies which can augment the existing systems to provide enhanced capabilities. More specifically, we propose the integration of force feedback, virtual fixtures, and reality registration into a set of mid-air refueling tools which can be added to existing mid-air refueling systems.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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