Dynamic landing site ranking for helicopter emergency situations

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Zimmermann, M.
Peinecke, N.
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Landing on unprepared sites is a typical mission task in day-to-day helicopter operations. Right after the event of an emergency which requires an immediate landing, the choice of a proper landing site is one of various time-critical and vital tasks which a helicopter pilot has to handle under intensive stress. This paper proposes a preventive procedure of landing site ranking to guide the pilot's attention to places with an increased chance of survivability. For that purpose, LIDAR data acquired during the flight by DLR's research rotorcraft ACT/FHS (Active Control Technology/Flying Helicopter Simulator, a highly modified EC135) is used for algorithm development and demonstration. Three types of results are shown. Starting with a landing site test-geometry, the algorithm's capabilities are demonstrated based on LIDAR data generated in DLR's AVES flight simulator. Secondly, a test-case using recorded LIDAR data acquired during previous flight tests is shown as an example close to real life with additional emergency ranking. Since wind is a major influence factor when choosing an appropriate landing site, varying ranking results of the real-life testcase with head-, cross- and rearwind conditions complete this paper.