Studies by Iseler and De Maio (2001) suggest that the helicopter accident rate in the USA is 10 times that of airline accidents, with 20% attributed to pilot error. US Army/NASA studies (Hart 1998) have developed a number of strategies with the goal of reducing the helicopter accident rate including real-time prediction, measurement and pilot cueing. Hardy and Thatcher (2004) described early development work in designing an intelligent helicopter performance instrument system that conducts performance predictions in real time that is being pursued with the aim of providing pilot cueing indicating sufficient performance is or is not available for takeoff, landing and maneuvering flight phases. This paper further describes the research work completed to date including the developmental instrument system that has been assembled from commercial-off the shelf hardware and software that will allow rapid prototyping from results of in-flight performance and human factors testing. The helicopter performance instrument system could significantly reduce pilot workload and enhance safety. It has the potential to assist in reducing the accident rate associated with collisions with the ground during takeoff and landing attributed to the pilot being unaware of insufficient performance of the helicopter.
& Thatcher, S.
(2005). The Development of an Intelligent Helicopter Performance Instrument System Incorporating Human Factors and Skilled Based Expertise. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 289-292.