A Generalized Index for the Assessment of Helicopter Pilot Vibration Exposure

Aykut Tamer, Andrea Zanoni, Alessandro Cocco, Pierangelo Masarati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helicopters are known to exhibit higher vibratory levels compared to fixed-wing aircraft. The consequences of vibrations depend on the affected helicopter component or subject. Specifically, pilots are in contact with several parts of the helicopter; vibrations can spoil the pilot-vehicle interaction. To evaluate the effects of vibration exposure on pilots, comfort levels resulting from whole-body vibration are computed. However, specific body parts and organs, e.g., hands, feet, and eyes are also adversely affected, with undesirable effects on piloting quality. Therefore, a detailed assessment is necessary for a more accurate estimation of pilot vibration exposure when comparing different configurations, tracking changes during design, and determining the safety of the flight envelope. A generalized assessment is presented by considering vibrations at the seat surface, hand-grip of controls, eyes, and feet. The suggested vibration measure includes comfort, handling, feet-contact, and vision in a single formulation. It is illustrated by coupling a high-fidelity biodynamic model of the pilot to a helicopter aeroservoelastic model in a comprehensive simulation environment. Using appropriate modeling techniques, vibration exposure of helicopter pilots could be evaluated during all stages of design, to achieve a more comfortable and safer flying environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-150
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2021


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