Airworthy Cable Angle Measurement System For Slung Load Operations

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911W6-10-C-0004
Agency Tracking Number: A092-013-1836
Amount: $69,959.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: A09-013
Solicitation Number: 2009.2
Small Business Information
6767 Old Madison Pike, Suite 410, Huntsville, AL, 35806
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Granade
 Senior Scientist
 (256) 971-0036
Business Contact
 Kristina Parmenter
Title: Business Manager
Phone: (256) 971-0036
Research Institution
One of the challenges of helicopter cargo missions is dealing with external slung loads. During flight, these loads often move in complex ways driven by forces generated by atmospheric effects and the helicopter’s downwash. A low-cost, accurate and airworthy system for measuring the load’s motion could allow for direct slung load stabilization by providing feedback to a human pilot, flight computer, or load feedback system. Advanced Optical Systems, Inc. will create an optical system capable of directly measuring not only the cable angle but also the load’s location and orientation, allowing us to determine if the load is rotating or undergoing a pendulum motion beneath the helicopter. This is more information than can be provided by a simple measurement of cable angle at the helicopter, and supports more sophisticated load stabilization approaches. The system will track loads through swings of 75° or more with an angular accuracy of better than 0.1°, and will be flexible enough to accommodate slings of varying lengths, from a handful of feet to 100 feet. By using LED or eye-safe laser diode targets on the load, we will be able to track the load even in degraded visual conditions such as brownout.

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

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