These days helicopters are used more and more frequently offshore. They are destined for use in all scenarios at sea, in particular thanks to their abilities to take off and land vertically, to hover in place and to achieve higher speeds in comparison to ships. Problems arise due to the frequently poor visibility conditions caused for example by sea fog, precipitation or darkness.
The HELMA project (Helicopter Flight Safety in Maritime Operations) led by the Institute of Flight Systems is concerned with the systematic investigation, improvement and evaluation of helicopter operations in the maritime environment. The current situation as regards all maritime helicopter operations scenarios relevant to the German police is being collated and evaluated in collaboration with the German federal police aviation service.
The DLR will improve the existing maritime environment in the AVES research simulator and improve it in line with the project tasks. The project will create an opportunity to test and evaluate new visual systems by implementing a visualisation system designed for the future. In order to support the pilots in a degraded visual environment, an assistance system will be developed and evaluated for planning trajectories taking possible obstacles into account All planned work packages will be implemented in close collaboration with the German federal police aviation service in order to make use of their operational experience and requirements concerning future technical support systems.
The primary objectives of the HELMA project are increasing operational availability and the safety of maritime helicopter operations. These objectives stem directly from the operational needs of the federal police in terms of border and environmental protection and rescue operations. The number of maritime helicopter operations, in particular in adverse weather conditions, is increasing rapidly due to the expansion in offshore wind energy generation and a growing global shipping industry. The component objectives of the project are the development and evaluation of optimised operational procedures, assistance systems and future technologies for the federal police aviation service. This will achieve on the one hand an improvement to current procedures and systems and on the other the creation of a test environment for future operational systems. Alongside direct implementation of the operational knowledge gained by the federal police, a visual assistance system will be developed to expand the limits for maritime operations.
As part of HELMA the Institute of Flight Guidance is developing a sensor simulator within the Air VEhicle Simulators (AVES) which is able to generate sensor data to fit the scenario for inputting into the planning and warning module. The Flexible Sensor Simulator Suite (F3S), developed at the Institute for Flight Guidance, forms the basis for this and is integrated into the AVES simulator as part of this project.
Institut für Flugsystemtechnik (Lead)
Institut für Flugführung