MUNICH, Germany, Aug. 17 (UPI) — An assistance system to enhance the safety of helicopters in degraded visibility conditions has been demonstrated by Airbus Defense and Space.
The aid is called Sferion, which is comprised of a laser-based sensor, already in service as an obstacle warning system, and the SferiAssist data fusion system, which combines the real-time sensor data with that from a database to create a clear picture of the helicopter’s surroundings.
“The remedy for degraded vision hazards is no longer a future prospect,” according to test pilot Mark Condon, a former chief Instructor of a British Apache helicopter regiment. “With Sferion, the solution for safeguarding helicopter pilots and missions is ready for service today.”
Airbus DS said test flights of the system were conducted during the German Army Aviation’s Helicopter Forum at its International Training Centre in Bückeburg, Germany, using a Bell 206 platform. Among the maneuvers performed in a degraded visual environment were take-offs and landings and low-level flights over hilly terrain and obstacles such as high-voltage pylons and power lines.
“The key task of the system is to ensure that the crew is constantly aware of their physical and tactical position, thus enabling them to confidently fly the aircraft while completing their mission-specific tasks.” Airbus DS said.