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"They who had scorned the thought of any strength except their own to lean on learned at length, how fear can sabotage the bravest heart. And human weakness, answering to the prod of terror, calls: "Help us, O God." Then silence lets the silent voice be heard, bringing its message like a spoken word, "Believe. Believe in me. Cast out your fear. Oh, I am not up there beyond the sky, but here, right here in your heart. I am the strength you seek. Believe."... And they believed."

Despite the title, this is not a book on religion. Robert L. Scott's true account as a pilot was published during the war, as something of a propaganda piece. He shot down 13 Japanese planes. "God is my Co-Pilot" is one of the best War Movies ever made, with a screenplay by William Faulkner [yes, that William Faulkner]. Robert Lee Scott was an Army Pilot who was looking for combat duty in World War II. In China, he persuades General Chennault to let him fly with the famed Flying Tigers, the heroic band of airmen who'd been fighting the Japanese long before Pearl Harbor. Scott gets his chance to fight, ultimately engaging in combat with the deadly Japanese pilot known as Tokyo Joe.

LHX - God is my Co-Pilot

In the United States, the Army invested $6.9 billion over 20 years in the RAH-66 Comanche Scout/Attack (SCAT) helicopter before it was cancelled in 2008. In January 1983, the LHX [Light Helicopter Experimental] program was initiated to provide a more survivable and faster scout aircraft that would also be capable of engaging targets, if necessary - a low-weight, low-maintenance, single pilot aircraft. The capabilities include air-to-air combat, deep attack, and continuous day and night operations. The US Army was interested in a single seat model because it offered the following potential benefits: (1) a more compact size which increases maneuverability and survivability, (2) a decrease in required m&npower, and (3) lower costing in all areas, including training, manpower, production, operating and life cycle costs. To help deal with this workload problem, the Army planned to equip the LHX with highly automated subsystems.

A common definition of pilot workload is “the integrated mental and physical effort required to satisfy the perceived demands of a specified flight task”. It is important to assess pilot workload because mission accomplishment is related to the mental and physical ability of the crew to effectively perform their flight and mission tasks. Aside from psychological factors in combat, workload is considered the main determining factors for the selection of one versus two crew members aircraft. In 1984 the US Army Science Board "recommended that LHX be a single seat aircraft. This is desirable from considerations of manpower savings and reduced training costs."

The missions, tactics, and crew-task demands of the Army helicopter operations had undergone rapid and extensive change by the 1980s. One such change is the emphasis to fly only a few feet above the terrain and as close as possible to obstacles for maximum protection from perceived air defense threats. Given past technology. both pilot and co-pilot workload is high during NOE flight. For one pilot to perform both flightpath management and mission management. Both tasks would have to be simplified or automated to achieve adequate performance. The VeryHigh-Speed Integrated Circuits (VHSIC) capabilities permited a very sophisticated software program to be incorporated into a relatively small amount of hardware.

The Advanced Rotorcraft Technology Integration (ARTI) program looked at the integration in the cockpit and how one pilot can do all the things he is supposed to do. You know, he must find the target and kill the target, or designate the target, identify it, fly in all weather, and see at night with a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), and maybe with radar. So, there were still some things that had to be worked before going into engineering development.

In 1984 five contractors — Boeing, Bell, Sikorsky, Hughes and IBM - were selected as Advanced Rotorcraft Technology Integration (ARTI) contractors. All five completed LHX mission and task analyses and initiated preliminary design of their integrated/automatic single pilot cockpit. Full authority automatic flight maneuvers have been demonstrated by Bell Helicopter. Hughes Helicopters initiated wind tunnel testing and full mission simulation of their LHX concept. Boeing Vertol's ARTI flight test bed initiated flight testing. A joint Air Force/Army wide-field-of-view helmet-mounted display demonstrator program was initiated; preliminary design of several concepts completed; and part task simulation was on-going to evaluate competing concepts.

The work in ARTI in fiscal year 1986 was intended to complete the critical technology demonstration of single pilot feasibility and support preliminary designs of the most important elements in the mission equipment package. Additionally, the ARTI funding would support essential wind tunnel and simulation work. The development cost for single pilot operation was no different from development cost for a two crew operation. The automation and integration requirements to operate the LHX through all its mission profiles under day/night and adverse weather conditions defined the mission package and subsequent development requirements. The Army goal for LHX remained single pilot operation. As of 1984 the Army stated that all exploration to date showed that this was an achievable goal. The Army decision on single pilot for LHX was to be finalized in 1985 after the critical Advanced Rotocraft Technology Integration (ARTI) demonstration and flight experiments had been completed and the Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis results were available.

To reduce the risk associated with single-pilot operations and because the probability of mission accomplishment in a dual station aircraft was higher, the Army made the decision to develop a two-pilot aircraft that would be single-pilot operable. originally had roughly an 8,500-pound weight target with a one-man helicopter. To pick up two-man, that really adds about another 500-pounds or more to the machine.

Simulations were conducted by the U.S. Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate to evaluate workload and helicopter-handling qualities requirements for single pilot operation in a combat Nap-of-the Earth environnent. The single-pilot advanced cockpit engineering stmulation (SPACES) investigations were performed on the NASA Ames Vertical Motion Simulator, using the Advanced Digital Optical Control System control laws and an advanced concepts glass cockpit. The first simulation (SPACES I) compared single pilot to dual crewmember operation for the same flight tasks to determine differences between dual and single ratings, and to discover which control laws enabled adequate single-pilot helicopter operation. The SPACES I1 simulation concentrated on single-pilot operations and use of control laws thought to be viable candidates for single pilot operations workload. Measures detected significant differences between dualand single-pilot operation and between single-pilot task segments.

The Sikorsky (S-76) Helicopter Advance Demonstrator of Operators Workload (SHADOW) had a single-pilot advanced cockpit grafted to its nose. The purpose was to study the MANPRINT or human engineering interface between the pilot and the cockpit controls and displays. The cockpit was the prototype of a single-pilot cockpit designed for use on the prototype RAH-66 Comanche armed reconnaissance helicopter. The cockpit was designed so sensors would feed data to the pilot through helmet mounted displays.

The MANPRINT study determined that single-pilot operation of the Comanche was unsafe, and would result in pilot overload. As result of this 1985 study, the Comanche was designed to be operated by a crew of two. The Army was looking at two aircraft really for LHX, one being the SCAT, which is the Scout and Attack, and the other being the Utility Track. If it's two-seater, no doubt it'd be tandem on the SCAT version, and then the Utility would probably be side-by-side.

The Army's Aviation Advanced Technology Directorate (AATD) sponsored the Rotorcraft Pilot's Associate (RPA) program, intended to promote the application of advanced technology to enhance man–machine performance in Army aviation. One aspect of that program is to develop prototype systems for aiding the pilot in navigation and piloting tasks (flying, navigating, and communicating) during extreme conditions such as nap–of–the–earth (NOE) flight at Day–Night Adverse Weather Pilotage System (D/NAP).

Superimposing mission management tasks on flightpath management tasks result in degraded pilot HQRs and higher pilot compensation and workload. Because of the close proximity of obstructions in the low-level and NOE flight environment, constant flightpath supervision is required. The addition of mission management tasks further increases pilot attentional demands, contributing to operator overload and reduced flightpath performance. As late 1987, ARTI researchers continued to assess the feasibility of varied single-pilot operations. While the Army was still striving to make the LHX a single pilot aircraft, early development had indicated that enough risks remained that it was prudent to add a dual pilot version to the LHX, capable of single-pilot operation from either seat.

In the early 1980s the Army was planning on being able to field the LHX by 1992. By the end of the Cold War, Comanche (formally known as the LHX) was still the focus of Army modernization, but the Comanche was officially terminated in February 2004.

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Page last modified: 23-02-2020 16:39:43 ZULU