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Operational Issues in Aided Night Vision Flight

Pierandrea Trivelloni

XIX AIMAS December 7th 2006

Night Vision Devices NVGs vs FLIR


Night vision goggles - reflected energy Image reflective contrast Require at least some illumination Penetrate moisture effectively Attenuated by smoke, haze and dust Forward Looking InfraRed - emitted energy Images thermal contrast Totally independent of light Penetrates smoke and haze Attenuated by moisture (humidity)
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B 10

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Light Sensitivity
100 80

Human Eye

GEN-III NVG

Relative Response (%)

60

40

20

0 400 500 600 Visible Light Visible Light 700 800 900 Infrared Infrared 1000

XIX AIMAS December 7th 2006

Wavelength (nanometres)

Light Sensitivity
100 80

Human Eye

GEN-III NVG

Relative Response (%)

60

40

Night Sky Irradiation

20

0 400 500 600 Visible Light Visible Light 700 800 900 Infrared Infrared 1000

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Wavelength (nanometres)

Image Intensification Process


Photocathode Microchannel Plate Electron Multiplier Phosphor Screen

Light
Secondary Electrons

Light Individual Multiplier Tube

Input Electron

Voltage
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Visual Characteristics of Night Vision Goggles


Reduced visual acuity 7/10 under ideal conditions 5/10 at best in aircraft May be 3/10 or worse at mean starlight and/or low contrast conditions Limited FOV - 40 degrees Monochromatic image - no color contrast Limits object detection and recognition
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Night Environment
High light level (HLL): > 2.2 mlux Equivalent to 20% moon disc @ 30 Best HLL: 50% moon disc @ 4080 Skyglow: up to13 below the horizon

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NVGs Visual Acuity

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The Role of NVG Cockpit Lighting


Spatial Disorientation - MH-60 Spatial Disorientation - A/OA-10* Wire Strike - MH-60 Spatial Disorientation - A/OA-10* Spatial Disorientation - F-16 Unknown / Mid-Air Collision - HH-60s Brown Out / Loss of Control - MH-53 Loss of SA / Mid-Air Collision - F-16* Misperception / Hard Landing - HH-60 Misperception / Tail Rotor Strike - MH-53
* Significant lighting deficiencies
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Mishap Primary Cause


Factors leading to NVG-related CFIT mishaps Task saturation Breakdown of crew coordination Poor judgment Fatigue & Workload Overconfidence/Complacency Training deficiencies/Inexperience The culminating event is breakdown in instrument crosscheck
XIX AIMAS December 7th 2006

Goggle Effects on Unaided FOV and Scan Patterns


NVGs are used to look outside the aircraft Cockpit Instruments and displays (except a HUD) are viewed by looking beneath or around the goggles The goggle obstructs a +/- 45 degree cone of vision (40 degrees + 2.5 degrees surrounding the image) Pilots must modify their cockpit scan to accommodate this obstruction of vision
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The Role of NVG Cockpit Lighting


Incompatible or partially compatible lighting is a particular hazard The natural tendency is to turn it down in order to reduce blooming and/or reflections However -- as a rule, an incompatible display cannot be made compatible by turning it down The result is a display that is less readable, or unreadable, AND still incompatible with NVGs

XIX AIMAS December 7th 2006

The Role of NVG Cockpit Lighting


Poor illumination of primary flight instruments has been a significant problem in NVG operations (30% of mishaps) It can take up to 10 seconds (515) to adapt from a bright NVG image to a dim cockpit display
Howard CM, Riegler JT, Martin JJ Aviation Space and Envir. Journal: June 2001

XIX AIMAS December 7th 2006

The Role of NVG Cockpit Lighting


Early Chromatic After-effects Transitory Grayish view of green and white targets Attenuated by increasing cockpit displays luminance and/or reducing the ANVIS display luminance
Moffitt K, Rogers SP, Cicinelli J Aviation, Space and Envir. Journal: February 1988

XIX AIMAS December 7th 2006

The Role of NVG Cockpit Lighting


Early Chromatic After-effects Transitory Grayish view of green and white targets Attenuated by increasing cockpit displays luminance and/or reducing the ANVIS display luminance
Moffitt K, Rogers SP, Cicinelli J Aviation, Space and Envir. Journal: February 1988

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Post-Flight Considerations
Post-flight eye strain May reflect poor pre-flight focusing Temporary depth perception problems Due to incorrect IPD settings Fatigue due to several factors Physical Mental Sensory

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Sensor Integration
Effective visual perception through natural and technological sensors Comparison between both perceptions Increase in sensorial and mental workload Integration among several technologies Computer generated imagery

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Fusion Imagery
Light Intensifier (NVGs) Infra-red (FLIR) Grey Fused (computer generated) Color Fused (computer generated)

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Training vs Demonstration
Training implies that the trainee has undergone a process resulting in an actual change in behavior, performance, perception or response not just informed regarding some fact or principal Merely demonstrating something is NOT training

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Next Generation Aircrew


Information management skills Situation awareness Spare mental capability Team-worker

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In certain circumstances Spatial Disorientation is a normal physiological response


William E. Berkley, Col, USAF, MC,CFS AFRL, Mesa (AZ)

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