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Helicopters


— Aircraft

Eye tracking monitors helicopter pilots flying blind

From battle zones to oil rigs, helicopters often operate in some of the hairiest situations in which pilots are forced to rely solely on cockpit instruments. In an effort to improve safety, the non-profit helicopter safety organization HeliOffshore is using eye-tracking technology to gain a greater understanding of how pilots operate in such scenarios.

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— Aircraft

DARPA demonstrates robotic landing gear for helicopters

Helicopters are versatile machines capable of all manner of maneuvers in the air, but when it comes to takeoffs and landings they are very fussy creatures, preferring flat, level pads, which are scarce in combat and rescue missions. DARPA recently demonstrated a new robotic landing gear system in an unmanned flight near Atlanta, Georgia, that's designed to overcome these limitations by enabling landings on broken or uneven terrain with a high degree of safety.

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— Military

Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout makes first destroyer flight

A helicopter landing on the flightdeck of a destroyer is hardly news – unless it's the US Navy's latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire Scout became the first unmanned helicopter to operate from a US destroyer on December 16. Under guidance of the ship's ground control station, the MQ-8C made 22 takeoffs and 22 precision landings on the guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) off the coast of Virginia. Read More
— Aircraft

New aerial firefighting system gulps water faster

When you're using helicopters to dump water on forest fires, it goes without saying that the faster you can obtain and deliver water from lakes or other sources, the better. Most currently-used systems are able to gather H2O at rates ranging from 1,700 to 4,000 liters (450 to 1,056 US gal) per minute, which is fairly impressive. A new system developed by Spanish firm Inventec, however, is claimed to be capable of sucking up 1,000 L (264 gal) in just five seconds – that scales up to a rate of 12,000 L (3,170 gal) per minute. What's more, it's also said to be safer. Read More
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