First results of LiDAR-aided helicopter approaches during NATO DVE-mitigation trials

  • Michael ZimmermannEmail author
  • Martin Gestwa
  • Christian König
  • Jens Wolfram
  • Stephanus Klasen
  • Andreas Lederle
Original Paper


Landing a helicopter on unprepared sites can quickly become a challenging task in operational scenarios. Especially when environmental factors reduce the available visual cues for the pilot, the risk of disorientation increases. Motivated to avoid accidents in degraded visual environments (DVE), the US Army program for DVE-Mitigation (DVE-M) with NATO participation supports international efforts in the development of systems for enhanced situational awareness during DVE. A workgroup of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and HENSOLDT Sensors GmbH participated at flight trials of the European DVE-M campaign in Manching with DLR highly modified research helicopter. The state of a system under development was presented which combines eyes-out tunnel-in-the-sky symbology (SferiAssist®) with dynamic path updates based on a laser sensor. Details of four flights during the campaign in Manching performed in February 2017 are given and discussed in terms of a technical analysis and results of pilot evaluations.


Helicopter Approach Hover LiDAR Obstacle Trajectory Tunnel-in-the-sky 



Advanced control technology/flying helicopter simulator


Air vehicle simulator


Digital surface model


Degraded visual environments


Evaluation pilot


Field of view


Flight test engineer


Head down display


Human–machine interface


Helmet mounted sight display


Light detection and ranging


Multi-function display


Mean sea level


Safety pilot


Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61



The authors like to thank all colleagues at the institute of Flight Experiments, Flight Guidance and Flight Systems, who were involved during the time-constrained preparation of the campaign. The constructive feedback by the anonymous reviewers of this article is also greatly appreciated.


This work has been partially funded with the support of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). Two of the authors are employed at the sensor and systems provider HENSOLDT.


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Copyright information

© Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Aerospace Center (DLR)Institute of Flight SystemsBraunschweigGermany
  2. 2.HENSOLDT Sensors GmbHImmenstaadGermany

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