Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Stephen Corda

Committee Members

John F. Moratore, Borja Martos

Abstract

A self-contained, portable, inertial and positional measurement system was developed and tested for an HGU-55 model fighter pilot helmet. The system, designated the Portable Helmet Instrumentation System (PHIS), demonstrated the recording of accelerations and rotational rates experienced by the human head in a flight environment. A compact, self-contained, “knee-board” sized computer recorded these accelerations and rotational rates during flight. The present research presents the results of a limited evaluation of this helmet-mounted instrumentation system flown in an Extra 300 fully aerobatic aircraft. The accuracy of the helmet-mounted, inertial head tracker system was compared to the aircraft-mounted referenced system. The ability of the Portable Helmet Instrumentation System to record position, orientation and inertial information in ground and flight conditions was evaluated. The capability of the Portable Helmet Instrumentation System to provide position, orientation and inertial information with sufficient fidelity was evaluated. The concepts demonstrated in this system are: 1) calibration of the inertial sensing element without external equipment 2) the use of differential inertial sensing equipment to remove the accelerations and rotational rates of a moving vehicle from the pilot’s head-tracking measurements 3) the determination of three-dimensional position and orientation from three corresponding points using a range sensor. The range sensor did not operate as planned. The helmet only managed to remain within the range sensor’s field of view for 37% of flight time. Vertical accelerations showed the greatest correlation when comparing helmet measurements to aircraft measurements. The PHIS operated well during level flight.

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