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Vibration Exposure Characterization and Health Risk Assessment of the UH-60L Blackhawk

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Technical Report,01 May 2017,31 Dec 2018

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This study characterized and assessed aircrew vibration during operation of the UH-60L Blackhawk owned andoperated by the Maryland Army National Guard. The study was part of a collaboration between the Army Public Health Center and theAir Force Research Laboratory, and was funded by the National Defence Center for Energy and Environment. The ISO 2631-1 1997 was used as the guideline for the assessments. Triaxial accelerations were collected at the floorseat base, seat pan, and seat back interfaces at the pilot station, two crew chief stations located mid cabin, and two passengers located in the rear of the aircraft. Data records were collected by aircraft task and the associated flight test conditions. All stationlocations showed a major spectral peak in all three directors between 17 and 17.5 Hz. These peaks were associated with the blade passage frequency of the Blackhawk helicopters. Based on the ISO 2631-1 guidelines, comfort reactions ranged from a little uncomfortable to even very uncomfortable, particularly at the pilot station and left passenger location. Based on the seat pan point vibration total value ISO 2631-1, the aircraft showed level flight exposures associated with the potential for health risk, and even likely health risks in less than 8 hours the pilot being exposed to potential health risk in 1 to 3 hours of daily occupational exposure, and exposed to likely health risks in 3 to 7 hours at higher airspeeds. Both the pilot and left passenger exceeded the exposure limits presented in the MIL-STD-1472G. All occupants should be warned that they may be exposed to potential health risk in less than 8 hours of flight. In summary, the results of the assessments on the UH-60L further support the substantial influence of operational vibration on the discomfort and pain that has been associated with the operation of these aircraft, particularly given the magnitudes of the higher frequency exposures that still result in a potential health risk.

Subject Categories:

  • Helicopters
  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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