Flying can be a dangerous business, particularly for helicopters that spend most of their air time close to the earth. Low-level flying is even riskier in a degraded visual environment (DVE), which interferes with a pilot’s ability to accurately navigate, see the ground, and avoid obstacles. DVE is a major cause of aviation accidents costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and taking hundreds of military and civilian lives. But recent strides in the integration of advanced sensors, powerful computer algorithms, and visualization technologies finally offer a solution to the problem of flying in a DVE. Sierra Nevada Corporation’s DVE System employs a combination of sophisticated multispectral sensors, GPS and other navigation systems, data fusion algorithms and an advanced synthetic visualization display to allow pilots to look through the DVEs. I have written about this potential game changing capability here.
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