The use of commercial remote sensing in predicting helicopter brownout conditions
Rabaja, Christine Kay.
Olsen, Richard C.
Trask, David M.
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Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from RADARSAT-2 is analyzed for detection of soils susceptible to helicopter brownout. Helicopter brownout occurs when downwash disturbs the dust and sand beneath the aircraft during takeoff, landing, and low altitude operations. Brownout may lead to pilot spatial disorientation and loss of control, causing helicopter damage or destruction, as well as personnel injury or death. The likelihood of helicopter brownout is related to soil moisture content, particle size distribution, and surface texture. This research explores the polarimetric signatures of soils, and determines if these characteristics can be used to predict areas that are susceptible to helicopter brownout. Preliminary results show that helicopter brownout regions can be predicted by means of a simple threshold.
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