Date of Award
Master of Science
Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Civil Engineering ( Str uctural Engineering)
David J. Eisenmann
The typical missions of rotorcraft involve flight paths at low altitudes. During low altitude flights, helicopter pilots are at risk of colliding with objects located close to the ground. One of the highest contributing factors in helicopter accidents is a wire-strike. A study from FAA showed that wire-strike accidents accounted for 5% of all aviation accidents. Wire-strikes occur when a helicopter pilot hits wires, e.g., powerlines, cables, etc. Data from the National Transportation Safety Board indicated that wire-strike was responsible for 95 helicopter accidents, in which 100+ lives lost from 2005 to 2018. Many of these events occurred during daylight, with good weather conditions. Due to the frequency of these events, several warning devices, such as laser, radar, and database dependent systems, wire markers, etc., were developed to aid the pilot to the proximity of wires. Despite such developments, wire-strike remains a serious threat to rotorcraft aviation. In this study, commercially available wire detection systems designed to increase rotorcraft safety were reviewed. Their potential for detecting all wires and protecting aircraft in the events of wire contact was evaluated. Based on these ssessments, existing technologies were found to be inadequate for preventing wire-strike events. Recommendations were provided on improving current devices and developing a new sensor that meets the needs of rotorcraft flight in an environment of wires. With the implementation of a wire strike protection and prevention system in all rotorcrafts, wire-strike events will be significantly reduced by providing safer flight missions and minimizing hazards in the flight path.
Mizero, Lionel, "Evaluation of existing technologies designed for helicopter against wire-strike" (2021). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18563.