Interactions between brown-out accidents and night vision equipment in military aviation accidents

Johnson, C.W. (2009) Interactions between brown-out accidents and night vision equipment in military aviation accidents. In: US Joint Weapons Systems Safety Conference 2009, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, 2009, pp. 3508-3518.

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Night vision devices (NVDs) mitigate risks in low visibility operations through image intensification or infrared imaging. However, NVDs create new risks, including a host of human factors problems. The operation of night vision equipment has been associated with several different forms of spatial disorientation. The following pages describe how this disorientation exacerbates the hazards created by ‘brown-out’ landings that occur when visibility is reduced by airborne particles, typically from helicopter downwash. This paper provides a high-level review of night vision operations and previous 'brown out’ accidents. A companion paper also submitted to this conference focuses on a detailed case study leading to the loss of a Royal Air Force Puma on operational duty in Iraq during November 2007. These two papers show that there is an urgent need to go beyond existing military Boards of Inquiry if we are to protect the safety of military personnel. We must extend the scope of operational studies across the US and UK armed forced to ensure that we learn the lessons provided by the growing number of similar accidents, which stem from complex interactions between new technology and a range of environmental hazards, including but not limited to ‘brown out’ and ‘white out’ conditions.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnson, Professor Chris
Authors: Johnson, C.W.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science

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