Helicopters are so commonplace, it's easy to forget that an aircraft that can take off and land vertically as well as hover is a tricky thing to fly – especially in close quarters and low visibility. One solution is augmented reality systems, such as the Helicopter Skylens wearable head-up display for Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) applications.
A new helicopter-specific version of Elbit System’s Skylens, the Helicopter Skylens was unveiled at this year’s Farnborough Airshow.
It's a lightweight wearable device consisting of a visor large enough to fit easily over the pilot’s glasses, and is part of the Clearvision Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) family. The visor displays high-resolution data, symbols, and video in a wide field, and is designed to be retrofitted to existing systems in helicopters to provide an augmented view of the outside world with data laid over what the pilot sees.
The device has a similar sunglasses-like design to that of the original Skylens, and is designed for helicopter pilots on medium-size civilian rotorcraft. It gives them a real-time "out of the cockpit" real-world view of the area’s terrain, that identifies obstacles and generates computer guidance with suggested safe flight paths overlaid on the field of vision.
Elbit sees the first applications of the Helicopter Skylens on rotorcraft operating on offshore oil and gas platforms. From there, the company hopes to see it used for search and rescue, law enforcement, offshore marine work, and emergency management.