Desert operations
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Desert Operations. Desert Operations. Introduction.

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Desert Operations

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Desert operations

DesertOperations

Desert Operations


Introduction

Introduction

  • The desert is probably the most severe of all environments in which aviation units must operate. Standard operating procedures for desert operations are different from areas having an abundance of contrasting terrain and substantial vegetation. This presentation describes some special considerations when employing aircraft in desert operations.


Topics of discussion

Topics of Discussion

  • Desert Characteristics/Considerations

  • Accident Statistics

  • Primary Causes of Night Operations Accidents and procedural solutions.

  • Visual Illusions

  • Brownout Landings

  • Night/NVD Considerations


Desert characteristics

Desert Characteristics

  • Intense heat (up to 120F).

  • Extremely low humidity

  • Large fluctuations in day/night temperatures (up to 70F).

  • Strong winds (30 mph in p.m./ 75 mph in windstorms).

  • Sand storms


Desert characteristics1

Desert Characteristics

  • Featureless terrain with poor reference points and minimal contrast

  • Dust storms deposit a film of dust/sand over varying terrain features, such as mountains, making them difficult to discern at night from the surrounding flat terrain


Desert considerations

Desert Considerations

  • Extreme daytime temperatures result in decreased aircraft performance, increased aircrew stress, and limited continuous operational capabilities (PPC, Acclimate, Hydrate)

  • Featureless terrain with poor reference points and poor contrast makes distances ,altitudes, and rate of closures difficult to estimate accurately, especially at night.


Desert considerations1

Desert Considerations

  • Dust storms severely restrict visibility. Dust and sand particles may remain suspended for days.

  • Helicopter rotor wash stirs up dust and sand causing "brownout" conditions. This presents a significant safety hazard to all aviation operations.


Desert considerations2

Sand erodes aircraft seals, rotor blades, engines, and other parts.

Aircraft windshields and ALQ 144’s are more susceptible to being damaged by small rocks (Keep them covered while parked on the ramp)

Aircraft surfaces become very hot during summer months. Keep skin covered when climbing over rotor-blades or onto tail section.

Desert Considerations


Personal protection summer

Personal Protection-Summer

  • Hydrate often

  • Sunblock, hats, sleeves down, sunglasses.

  • Carry water aboard aircraft

  • Schedule work for coolest part of day (early/late hours)

  • Ramp temperatures tend be elevated due to heating affect of asphalt absorbing the sun’s heat

  • Protective goggles for crewmembers connecting external loads or conducting hoist missions.


Personal protection winter

Personal protection- Winter

  • Hydrate

  • Temps tend to drop rapidly once the sun sets. Plan day missions as if you are going to spend the night in the desert.


Accident statistics

Accident Statistics

  • 80% of OIF FY03 Class A Accidents were attributed to Brownout Conditions (Flight Fax Feb 2004)

  • Individual/Crew Coordination Failure played a role in 80% of these.

  • 80% of Desert Storm NVG Accidents were caused by Spatial Disorientation


Desert operations

The PI had been flying for almost an hour doing

dust landing qualifications. The highly experienced

The PI had been flying for almost an hour doing

dust landing qualifications. The highly experienced

demonstrate a crosswind approach and takeoff.

demonstrate a crosswind approach and takeoff.

He executed the approach without any problems

and began the takeoff with a stiff right crosswind.

He executed the approach without any problems

and began the takeoff with a stiff right crosswind.

began the takeoff. This put the aircraft in a tailwind

began the takeoff. This put the aircraft in a tailwind

to continue a climb. The aircraft never cleared the

to continue a climb. The aircraft never cleared the

came to rest on its side. The IP and one of the crew

came to rest on its side. The IP and one of the crew

Interviews revealed that the PI and both crew

Interviews revealed that the PI and both crew

left turn, but none of them said anything to the IP.

left turn, but none of them said anything to the IP.

in his flying ability. They

in his flying ability. They

intentional even though he had not announced it. This

intentional even though he had not announced it. This

FAILURE is commonly referred to as excessive

FAILURE is commonly referred to as excessive

this case, the PI and the two CEs trusted the IP

this case, the PI and the two CEs trusted the IP

him to crash the aircraft.No one said a word as an

him to crash the aircraft.No one said a word as an

the accident.

the accident.

The PI had been flying for almost an hour doing dust landing qualifications.The highly experienced IP told him to take a break and decided to demonstrate a crosswind approach and takeoff.He executed the approach without any problems and began the takeoff with a stiff right crosswind. Several factors led him into a shallow left turn as he began the takeoff. This put the aircraft in a tailwind condition and the power applied was insufficient to continue a climb. The aircraft never cleared the dust cloud, struck the ground, bounced, rolled, and came to rest on its side. The IP and one of the crew chiefs were hospitalized for significant injuries. Interviews revealed that the PI and both crew chiefs knew that the aircraft was in the shallow left turn, but none of them said anything to the IP. They all knew him very well and had complete faith in his flying ability. They assumed that the turn was intentional even though he had not announced it. This CREW COORDINATION FAILURE is commonly referred to as excessive professional courtesy. In this case, the PI and the two CE’s trusted the IP to the point of allowing him to crash the aircraft.

UH-60L Accident Synopsis, FY-2000

Several factors led him into a shallow left turn as he

Several factors led him into a shallow left turn as he

condition and the power applied was insufficient

condition and the power applied was insufficient

dust cloud, struck the ground, bounced, rolled, and

dust cloud, struck the ground, bounced, rolled, and

chiefs were hospitalized for significant injuries.

chiefs were hospitalized for significant injuries.

chiefs knew that the aircraft was in the shallow

chiefs knew that the aircraft was in the shallow

They all knew him very well and had complete faith

They all knew him very well and had complete faith

assumed that the turn was

assumed that the turn was

CREW COORDINATION

CREW COORDINATION

professional courtesy. In

professional courtesy. In

to the point of allowing

to the point of allowing

unannounced left turn led to

unannounced left turn led to

IP told him to take a break and decided to

IP told him to take a break and decided to


Desert operations

Learn from the mistakes of others. You will not live long enough to make all of them yourself.


Primary causes for night operations accidents

Primary Causes for Night Operations Accidents

  • The US Army Safety Center has studied crew error accidents occurring in night operations during the past years and have found that eight types of crew errors are repeatedly causing night accidents. As simple and basic as they appear, these kinds of errors show up persistently in accident reports year after year.


Improper scan

Improper scan

  • Improper direction of visual attention inside or outside the aircraft; i.e., too much or too little time on one object / area; scan pattern not thorough or systematic.


Proper scan techniques

Proper Scan Techniques

  • Assign scan sectors/responsibilities

  • Crewmembers should rotate their eyes and head slowly and continuously. Stop to identify objects but avoid fixating. (fixation is most likely to occur during periods of high anxiety)

  • Announce when inside (PC should acknowledge all in/out calls)

  • All crewmembers should be outside during critical tasks


Improper distance estimation

Improper distance estimation

  • Inaccurate estimation of distance between objects and rate of closure with objects


Distance estimation

Distance estimation

  • Reduce airspeed

  • Map/route recon. Pilot not on controls should announce upcoming terrain features.

  • NVG approaches- Recommend airspeed be reduced to approx 50 KIAS until apparent ground speed and rate of closure appear to increase. Progressively decrease rate of descent and airspeed until termination.


Failure to detect hazards

Failure to detect hazards

  • Not identifying obstacles or recognizing other hazardous conditions (e.g., obstacles in landing area, unsecured equipment and improper control / switch position).


Desert operations

Keep looking around. There's always something you have missed.


Detecting hazards

Detecting Hazards

  • On Ground-Locate and announce hazards prior to A/C movement.

  • In Flight- Continuous scanning, all crewmembers outside during critical phases, landing zone recon should also include hazards along departure axis in case go-around is needed.

  • Crewmembers announce unannounced deviations from altitudes and headings (Turns).


Improper coordination

Improper coordination

  • Failure of crewmembers to properly interact and act (sequence and timing) with each other and / or others outside the aircraft performing flight tasks.


Aircrew coordination

Aircrew Coordination

  • Battle roster crews for first couple of months. Match experienced with less experienced.

  • Thorough initial briefings on all aspects of flight to include, emergency landings, taking fire calls, un-secure LZ procedures (I.e., protection, hasty departure, NRCM call for departure ready).


Aircrew coordination continued

Aircrew Coordination-Continued

  • Rehearse Brownout Landing Actions (crewmember duties/calls to include Go-Around calls/procedures)

  • Frequent Altitude callouts during flight over featureless terrain

  • Divide radio duties

  • Train frequently/strive for proficiency.

  • Conduct constructive mission debriefs.


Failure to properly plan preflight

Failure to properly plan preflight

  • Failure to choose appropriate flight options for known conditions and contingencies and develop these into a course of action that will maximize the probability of mission accomplishment.


Preflight planning

Preflight Planning

  • Review your route/ familiarize yourself with needed GPS checkpoints before takeoff.

  • Troops in contact- Find out friendly and enemy troop locations and plan ingress/egress routes accordingly.

  • Preset radio frequencies before takeoff.


Failure to properly plan in flight

Failure to properly plan in-flight

  • Improper in-flight modification of flight plan or failure to properly modify flight plan in response to unanticipated events or conditions.


Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn t get to five minutes earlier

Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.


In flight planning

In-flight planning

  • Deviate from routes/altitudes as necessary to accomplish mission.

  • Slow down during periods of reduced visibility, contrast, or illumination.

  • Abort mission if successful completion is unlikely.

  • Use available time enroute to discuss action plan on arrival/assign responsibilties (i.e., crewchief stays at A/C while medic goes to patient, etc.)

  • Use Blue Force Tracker while en route for enemy situation or patient updates.


Failure to properly diagnose or respond to emergency

Failure to properly diagnose or respond to emergency

  • - improper identification of, or response to an actual, simulated or perceived emergency


Emergency response

Emergency Response

  • P*- Fly the A/C.

  • Correctly identify the emergency (NRCM should assist as necessary, i.e., checklist available, confirm correct PCL identification, especially at night, assist with obstacle avoidance.


Failure to execute proper procedure for flight

Failure to execute proper procedure for flight

  • - failure to properly execute procedures necessary to maintain or recover orientation in flight environments known to restrict visibility; e.g., snow, dust, IMC, black hole, and over black water.


Executing proper procedure for flight

Executing proper procedure for flight

  • Frequent Altitude callouts

  • Airspeed/rate of closure calls during landing (recommend 50Kias @ 80’ AGL)

  • ATM NVG terrain flight max speeds may be too fast. Example- No restriction above 80’ AGL

  • Maneuver around mountains,if able, rather than over them

  • Proficiency in NVG and Instrument skills to include Unusual Attitude and IIMC recovery.

  • Slow down during periods of reduced visibility or low illumination.


Visual illusions

Visual Illusions


False horizon or lack of horizon

False Horizon or lack of horizon.


False horizons or lack of horizon

False Horizons or lack of horizon

  • Sloping terrain or areas of differing contrast may create a false horizon. Sand and dust may obscure the horizon.


Height perception illusion

Height Perception Illusion


Height perception illusion1

Height Perception Illusion

  • Sensation of being higher or lower than you actually are is due to poor contrast and visual references. It may result in a tendency to descend in order to acquire visual cues.


Ground light misinterpretation

Ground light misinterpretation


Ground light misinterpretation1

Ground light misinterpretation

  • Confusing ground lights with stars. The pilot may place the aircraft in an unusual attitude to keep the perceived “star” lights above the aircraft.


Fixation

Fixation


Fixation1

Fixation

  • Aviator fixes attention on high interest object and stops scanning. This may result in an aircraft being flown into the ground. Most likely to occur during periods of high anxiety.


Crater illusion

Crater Illusion


Crater illusion1

Crater Illusion

  • Viewing the periphery of the IR searchlight gives the illusion that what is actually flat terrain slopes upward.


Lack of motion perception parallax

Lack of motion perception/parallax


Lack of motion perception parallax1

Lack of motion perception/parallax

  • A lack of contrast or discernable terrain features make judging aircraft movement difficult to estimate.


Orientation recovery

Orientation Recovery

  • Trust/scan instruments

  • 2 Challenge Rule

  • Train Frequently (NVG’s/Instruments)

  • Practice Unusual Attitude recoveries

  • Practice/know VHIRP/Inadvertent IMC procedures


Brownout landings

Brownout Landings


Brownout landings1

Brownout Landings

Expect every landing to result in a brownout.

  • Three types of brownout landings

  • Roll-On

  • Landing to a reference point

  • No reference point/minimal rollout on landing


Roll on landings

Roll-On Landings

  • Landing to a flat surface while touching down ahead of the dust cloud.

  • Safest of all 3 landing types provided area is free of unexploded ordinance, mines, ruts, or other hazards.


Landing to a reference point

Landing to a reference point

  • Reference point can be a panel marker, bush, or other immovable object that the pilot can land to while maintaining visual contact through the chin bubble for the final landing phase (Tendency is to undershoot, landing well short)


Landing to a reference point1

Landing to a Reference Point

  • Land into the wind (avoid landing into setting sun)

  • LZ Recon (App/Dep axis free of obstacles)

  • Go-Around Plan (Pilot not flying should announce rate of descent/climb, TQ Settings, and Altitudes AGL)

  • Vent blower off/ windows closed.

  • Stabilized approach above ETL (Not too shallow) Check A/C alignment with landing direction/surface.


Landing to a reference point2

Landing to a Reference Point

  • Crew chief calls dust cloud at tail, cabin, your (pilot’s) door (close windows).

  • Slight deceleration just before touchdown. Reference point should end up under the P* chin bubble. Avoid abrupt attitude changes during this critical final landing phase. Touch down with slight forward movement and apply brakes. Center cyclic prior to lowering collective.


Landing without reference point

Landing without reference point

  • Landing is accomplished in the same manner as to a reference point with the exception of terminating to a pilot selected suitable area. The emphasis is on minimizing aircraft attitude changes after establishing a stable approach.


Brownout takeoff

Brownout Takeoff

  • Scan area for obstacles.

  • Announce departure axis

  • Discuss target climb out TQ and not to exceed Max TQ avail.

  • P* performs altitude over airspeed ITO while scanning instruments.

  • P calls TQ, rate of climb, altitude, and clear of dust cloud

  • Requires hover OGE power


Night considerations

Night Considerations

  • Use of the searchlight during final approach can induce spatial orientation. One technique calls for progressive dimming during final approach.

  • Rates of closure, altitudes, and drift are difficult to estimate in areas with limited contrast. Progressive altitude and rate of closure calls by the P are a must.

  • Train Frequently


Go arounds

Go Arounds

  • If in doubt, Go Around

  • Should be initiated prior to loss of ETL or entering Dust Cloud (Not always the case).

  • Altitude over Airspeed I.T.O.

  • Know location of obstacles

  • Apply sufficient power to arrest descent and initiate a positive climb

  • Pilot not on controls calls out TQ settings and positive rate of climb.


Desert operations

Click on the link below to access the

Desert Operations Quiz

http://quizstar.4teachers.org/indexs.jsp

Log-in and Click “Search” Tab

Class Name = Desert Operations


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