Helicopter Assisted Landing System Using MMW Radar


Feinian Wang, Mustafa Rangwala, and K. Sarabandi


Landing on unprepared surfaces, such as snow-covered terrain or uneven ground, has always been considered hazardous for the helicopter operation. A specialized, low cost, all-weather sensor is needed to aid the pilot in selecting safe landing site, by detecting the terrain topography underneath the helicopter with reasonable spatial resolution. Millimeter-wave (MMW) radar technology is best suited for this purpose. A 2-D scan of the terrain provides the range from each pixel to radar, based on which surface elevations are computed to form the topography.



Figure 1: 2-D scan of the underneath terrain by a MMW radar on board of the helicopter.








Figure 2: (a) A computer-generated terrain with a hump in center; (b) detected terrain topography with the hump clearly observed; (c) terrain topography detection error.