Electronic Bumper for Rotorcraft Brownout Approach and Landing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-09-C-1625
Agency Tracking Number: F081-074-0620
Amount: $1,400,820.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF081-074
Solicitation Number: 2008.1
Small Business Information
10070 Barnes Canyon Road, San Diego, CA, 92121
DUNS: 107928806
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Paul Techau
 Vice President
 (703) 269-3613
Business Contact
 Nicole Sanese
Title: Sr. Contract Administrato
Phone: (858) 373-2711
Email: NSanese@islinc.com
Research Institution
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.

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

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