The European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST), working in partnership with the Amsterdam-based National Aerospace Laboratory, has been studying the potential of technology to reduce the number of accidents suffered by helicopters. The study analyses the causes of various accidents, taking in their contributing factors and working out links to technologies that could have aided in prevention. EHEST considers the following seven technologies the most important potential improvements to warning systems and the situational awarenes of pilots:
- enhanced ground proximity warning systems, which can provide warnings of land-based obstacles such as towers;
- laser radar obstacle and terrain avoidance systems, which use eye-safe lasers to provide optical and aural warnings about obstacles such as wires;
- passive tower-based obstacle collision avoidance systems – units placed on utility and power line towers that detect all air traffic entering predefined warning zones;
- digital range image algorithms for flight guidance aids for helicopter low-level flight;
- efficient numerical approaches for onboard rotorcraft flight performance modelling, which allow performance and mission planning onboard aircraft during flight;
- radar altimeters for altitude measurement;
- and wire strike protection systems, which consist of cutters placed on the top and bottom of rotorcraft.