Helicopters don’t fly; they beat the air into submission. You might be surprised how close the helicopter vs. gravity fight can be with our active military assets. The winner can be predicted with complex equations that use aircraft performance functions, terrain elevation, weather conditions, and mission weight. Transport pilots want to carry as much cargo as possible in one trip and attack pilots don’t like running out of ammunition. Their max loads vary hundreds of pounds from place to place and day to day. Existing concept of operations has pilots computing the power margins for specific points such as their take-off and target locations.
Geocent’s Rotary Wing Performance Surface prototype effort produced a Tactical Decision Aid (TDA) that computes that same power margin for the entire battlespace. Not only does this tool provide pilots a complete view of their performance battlespace, but it also provides ground commanders and mission-planners predictions of where they can count on having rotary wing support.
Under the hood we are using GeoServer’s Web Processing Service (WPS) capabilities to execute the performance algorithms. The WPS automatically collects the required meteorological data from Web Coverage Services to compute the performance surface for a given mission profile. Mission Planners don’t need another stand-alone tool to contend with. Through the proper application of the OGC standards, we seemlessly integrate the TDA with existing planning tools.