Helmet-mounted displays

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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ricnunes

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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 02:09

Very interesting article about the F-35 pilot helmet here:

http://www.airspacemag.com/military-avi ... 180964342/


At a 2015 press briefing, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III was at a loss for words. “The helmet is much more than a helmet, the helmet is a workspace,” he said of the headgear invented for pilots of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. “It’s an interpretation of the battle space. It’s situational awareness. Calling this thing a helmet is really…we’ve got to come up with a new word.”

Wired magazine tried out “head unit.” The Economist: “Top Gun’s Topper.” Whatever it’s called, the thing is loaded. It combines a sensor suite, night-vision technology, an information-packed display system, line-of-sight tracking based on head movement, and targeting software—all designed to give pilots a god-like view: everything, everywhere, for the pilot to select to avoid sensory overload. Whereas fighter pilots once checked a head-up display on a fighter’s windscreen for information such as airspeed, heading, altitude, rate of climb, and information about other aircraft—friend and foe—in the same piece of sky, the F-35 pilot sees all this and more on the helmet visor. A pilot can either tap a touchscreen on the cockpit avionics panel or press a single button on the F-35 control stick to choose among three feeds: real-time video of what’s going on outside, thermal imagery, or night vision.

The helmet has the almost creepy capability of following the pilot’s gaze. As her head moves, so moves the data feed, presenting video from a suite of six cameras located on the F-35 airframe. The distributed aperture system—one camera is mounted ahead of the cockpit, another is aft, and the remaining four are below the airframe—gives the pilot the equivalent of X-ray vision: When she looks down, she can see straight through the floor of the airplane. One pilot, unimpressed, pointed out that he could achieve the same perspective by quickly rolling the airplane into a steep bank and looking out the side of the cockpit. But when the F-35 helmet shows the pilot the ground sliding by beneath, it can overlay that video with a flight path to the destination or with information about ground targets.

To follow where the pilot is looking, and in turn direct the appropriate view to the visor, the helmet must sense its position and orientation. It relies on a magnetic field, generated by a transmitter in the pilot’s seat. As the pilot’s head moves, sensors on the helmet detect a change in the field. Ideally the display would follow instantly and seamlessly, but in early generations of the helmet, the display lagged behind a change in head orientation. According to an April 2017 Government Accountability Office report, those problems have been addressed.


“There are a lot of factors that need to work well together,” says Joe Ray, a manager at Rockwell Collins–ESA Vision Systems, which provides the helmet display system. If the developers conduct a test and see a performance they weren’t expecting, he says, “we bring the pilots back in and we duplicate that [finding] in the lab.”

For targeting, an Elbit-developed system tracks the helmet’s position to determine where the pilot’s view is directed. If the pilot has selected the electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), the imagery he sees comes from sensors in a window beneath the cockpit that include forward-looking infrared cameras and infrared search-and-track radar. The system also supplies such information as target identity and distance—and even advises which weapon to use.

For the tracking system to work, the helmet must be precisely fit. A 3D scan is made of the pilot’s head and entered into a central database. From it, technicians develop software that drives milling machines to cut the foam liner by laser. A pilot’s eyes are measured with a pupilometer to align the optics package on the visor to within two millimeters of the center of each pupil to ensure that the images projected into his visor converge to his natural field of view.


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When the pilot returns for the final fitting of the liner to its outer shell, the visor and its display feeds are adjusted to ensure that only a single fused image appears. Technicians spend four hours over a two-day period to shape the helmet liner to an individual pilot’s head in order to ensure that the helmet’s optical sensors are aligned with the pilot’s pupils. The measurements also ensure that the helmet rests on the pilot’s head so that its center of gravity is aligned with the pilot’s spine in order to prevent neck injuries during ejection or high-G maneuvers.


Although the helmet’s night vision is available with the press of a button—instead of the cumbersome process of donning goggles while trying to fly an airplane—this system too has run into difficulty during development. Night vision was a topic at a recent conference of the F-35 flight test safety committee, composed of F-35 pilots and engineers working on the program. The committee viewed a video from a November 2016 landing test that showed a helmet’s night-vision display that didn’t work properly. For the test, an F-35B, the short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) variant of the Lightning II, landed vertically on the amphibious assault ship USS America. The test pilot reports that “something was obscuring” the night-vision feed to his helmet-mounted display. The pilot nonetheless continued the test and landed safely.

Erik Gutekunst, a flying-qualities engineer at the test, says the incident gave him the “heebie-jeebies.” He adds: “It became very clear that the picture he was working with was unsatisfactory for any sort of operation in the very close vicinity of the ship.” The committee discussed making changes to the way the tests would be conducted, and the F-35 program office says software fixes to improve night vision will be tested this fall.

As of July, about 400 helmet systems had been delivered, and Rockwell Collins estimates that each of the approximately 3,100 F-35s on order will require 2.5 to 3.5 helmets. “Repair, attrition, wear and tear, pilots come and go,” explains Ray. Components such as the liners fitted to an individual pilot cannot be reused.

Because the helmet is custom-made and estimated to cost at least $400,000 each, pilots don’t use them during flight school and simulator training; they use mockups instead. Not until they are assigned to an active-duty F-35 squadron do pilots receive the most complex helmet ever made.
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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 03:05

I weep at some of the obsfucation about this helmet. Perhaps the author / editor thought they were clear: the HMDS Helmet Liner is custom fitted whilst the OUTER Expensive SHELL that we see comes in several sizes; but NOT fitted for each pilot - ONLY the custom LINER - inside a standard size HMDS III is for any individual pilot; who AFAIK can take that custom liner to next standard size helmet (but only my guess about reusing liner at this point).
"...Components such as the liners fitted to an individual pilot cannot be reused. [Perhaps because?]

Because the helmet is custom-made [obsfucation here] and estimated to cost at least $400,000 each, pilots don’t use them during flight school and simulator training; [special simulator HMDS is used by all] they use mockups instead. Not until they are assigned to an active-duty F-35 squadron do pilots receive the most complex helmet ever made."

Then there is this caption quote from underneath the HMDS III photo; THERE IS NO EYE TRACKING PEOPLE: otherwise the main body of the article describes how the helmet is tracked in the cockpit space.
"...The helmet’s foam inner shell requires at least four hours of custom fitting to each pilot before it’s cut by laser; the precision ensures that its eye tracking and visor display say aligned even during high-G maneuvers...."

& correct:
"...To follow where the pilot is looking, and in turn direct the appropriate view to the visor, the helmet must sense its position and orientation. It relies on a magnetic field, generated by a transmitter in the pilot’s seat. As the pilot’s head moves, sensors on the helmet detect a change in the field...."
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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ricnunes

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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 15:58

Yes I agree that helmet foam/alignment/custom helmet is quite contradicting (afterall what's custom is the foam not the helmet itself) but in the end I've seen/read worse articles about the subject in the past... :wink:
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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 17:22

:devil: Those 'worse' articles are in this very thread - or some of them at least - the rest hide on the usual crappy websites. :doh:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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ricnunes

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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 21:17

spazsinbad wrote::devil: Those 'worse' articles are in this very thread - or some of them at least - the rest hide on the usual crappy websites. :doh:


Yes indeed.
And there's even another part in this latest article which in my opinion is even 'worse' that the helmet foam/alignment/custom helmet part, which is this one:

One pilot, unimpressed, pointed out that he could achieve the same perspective by quickly rolling the airplane into a steep bank and looking out the side of the cockpit.


LOL, that one above is a clear contender for the stupidest comment of the year. It's always as "good" (or more precisely, as ridiculous) as saying: Why travel by plane from for example New York to L.A. if one can go on foot :roll:


However there's also some interesting pieces of information in that article, like the one below:

For targeting, an Elbit-developed system tracks the helmet’s position to determine where the pilot’s view is directed. If the pilot has selected the electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), the imagery he sees comes from sensors in a window beneath the cockpit that include forward-looking infrared cameras and infrared search-and-track radar. The system also supplies such information as target identity and distance—and even advises which weapon to use.


Does it means that the EOTS can be cued by the pilot's head movement (aimed/cued by the helmet)?
If yes, this is something that I didn't know which is impressive! :D
I'm always learning something new about the F-35 :wink:
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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 23:10

Sensor fusion cues what happens however this is something usually overlooked when 'crappy websites' want to complain about the pilot view: "...The system also supplies such information as target identity and distance—and even advises which weapon to use...." This view in the forward sphere is replicated in the rearward sphere - 6 o'clock - with the press of a button to change vHUD view as required. Plenty of illustrations of this view on this thread.

www.target.com

BTW does anyone else get words underlined with links to 'target' for example here leads to:? http://go.skimresources.com/?id=30385X8 ... 5&xtz=-600
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 01:07

Yep, it's some ad revenue thing that the site admins have unfortunately allowed.
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ricnunes

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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 15:36

spazsinbad wrote:BTW does anyone else get words underlined with links to 'target' for example here leads to:?


Yes, it also happens to me too.
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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 23:18

HOOK'17 video Test Pilot comments upon HMDS improvements but more testing needed embarked when very dark nights.

HMDS III improvement comments start about minute four and 30 seconds into this video excerpt.

Thanks 'Dragon029' video: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=53438&p=376137&hilit=compressed#p376137

RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post21 Sep 2017, 17:23

I've just had someone associated with the new OLED supplier for the (to be) upgraded HMDS share a few links with me:

www.military.com/video/logistics-and-su ... 1990337001

https://twitter.com/eMagin_OLED
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Unread post21 Sep 2017, 17:42

Uploaded for ease of use

"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post21 Sep 2017, 21:45

Thanks for that 'SWP'. :mrgreen: Any chance to get the Cobham Breathing Sensor video please?

http://www.military.com/video/logistics ... 1976236001

Would you post your Utbue video here thanks: viewtopic.php?f=60&t=53161&p=376833&hilit=Dave#p376833 :devil:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post21 Sep 2017, 21:54

"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post21 Sep 2017, 22:07

Again thanks for that video & thanks for reposting the video at the link above.

:doh: I'm not a regular user of FireFox and I just forgot that it now has 'Video DownloaderHelper' installed. So :doh: that video can be downloaded by it - I think I'll remember to try that next time. Thanks to 'Dragon029' for that info earlier. :applause:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post22 Sep 2017, 01:26

"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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