The challenge of this project was to design and build a simulated helicopter cockpit to be light enough to handle by two people, and able to be dunked upside down in a pool.
A police helicopter unit needed a platform that matched the interior dimensions of their helicopters that could be flipped over in a pool to simulate escaping a helicopter during a water landing.
We started the design of this structure by taking careful measurements of the cockpit of the police helicopter. Taking this data, we designed the structure in Solidworks which not only allowed us to design parts for manufacturing, but let us provide 3D images to the police unit so that they could verify that our design met their design concept.
Because this structure needed to be manually handled, weight was a significant constraint. It also had to have features such as headphone jacks, and door release levers to simulate the sequence the pilot would do in an actual emergency.
In order to keep the structure light, we utilized a chassis made of 1” aluminum tubing and .0625” 5052 aluminum sheetmetal. The aluminum and plexiglass doors were attached the chassis with magnets so that the pilot would have to push on the door hard to get it to unlatch, like what would occur in an actual emergency.
The HUET device that we designed and built resulted in several improvements for the police helicopter unit that include:
- Lightweight training device that can be transported easily in a pickup truck
- Ergonomically similar to an actual helicopter
- Increased safety of police helicopter pilots