Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Robotic Helicopter Landing Platform

Helicopter landing on ship in rough weather
When the weather is nice and the sea is smooth, landing a helicopter on a ship is not much more difficult than it is on land. (I really have no idea, but let's just pretend this is true for the moment.) When the wind starts blowing and sea returns to its normal heaving self, landing that chopper gets a lot more difficult, and at some point, when the wind or waves get to be too much, they won't even try.
    A while back I came across the RAST helicopter landing and handling system that gets used on Navy ships. Then yesterday I'm watching a show about the Sinop-D, an ancient shipwreck in the Black Sea, and their underwater robots have mechanical arms equipped with force feed-back, so the operator can tell, just by how much the controls resist, how much effort the machine is exerting.
    So this goes into my brain and today I get this idea for ships that carry helicopters. What they need is a landing platform that is mounted on a robotic arm that can compensate for the pitch and roll of the ship. That way it can provide a nice, stable landing platform for a helicopters even in recalcitrant weather. Once the chopper is secured to the platform, the platform can gradually step away from being stable and back to being locked to the ship with all it's unpleasant gyrations.
    Building something like this that would support multi-ton helicopter from a storm tossed ship would be a bit of a trick. Nothing really new, just bigger and faster and more sensitive than anything we've got now.

1 comment:

Ole Phat Stu said...

And I thought landing a jet on a rolling pitching carrier at night was hard!