Helicopter Remote Manipulation of External Slingloads (HERMES)
Small Business Information
6767 Old Madison Pike, Suite 410, Huntsville, AL, 35806
AbstractHelicopter operations in low visibility conditions and sling load operations continue to add risk to aviation operations. If slingloads could be picked up without use of a ground crew, lives could be saved. In addition, a sensor that could detect obstacles as well as the load would help in low-visibility conditions. We propose to develop such a system. It will include the mechanical structures necessary for uncrewed operation and automatic electrical grounding of the helicopter, the sensors for locating the loads and surrounding obstacles, and integration in both the helicopter technical systems and the operational procedures for acquiring external loads. In this approach, the ground crew will only set the load in place and ensure that the latching mechanism is properly deployed. Our baseline approach is to modify existing technologies. For the external load hook mechanisms, use a variant of an existing automatic docking system such as Michigan Aerospace's Autonomous Microsatellite Docking System (AMDS). For sensors, use two different sensing technologies. The first locates the load's hook mechanism location with respect to the helicopter's hook. The second scans the surroundings and provide information about altitude and obstacle location. The information is given to the crew through one or more monitors.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.