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“Sensor-1 to Pilot, How Copy Over!!!”

OK…let’s be honest…how many ASO’s (non-rated-pilots) have wondered what would happen if their fellow crewmember the pilot “all of a sudden” was incapacitated...I would say many. Here’s one program that was developed over 35 years ago by AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) called the “Pinch-Hitter” course to help with this situation. According to AOPA, the course is:

“Designed to help non-pilot flying companions learn how to safely land an aircraft in the unlikely event of pilot incapacitation. It includes an introduction to the principles of flight, a basic overview of instruments and radio communications, and a scenario-based training guide.

Participants are encouraged to first take the free Pinch Hitter™ online course from the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI), and then use this training syllabus to further guide instruction. ASI recommends using a certificated flight instructor (CFI) or an experienced, proficient pilot for the ground and flight instruction portions of the syllabus.
While pilot incapacitation is extremely rare in general aviation (GA), completing this syllabus will help non-pilots be more knowledgeable and better prepared in the event of an actual emergency— they may even decide to pursue additional flight training.”


Besides the primary purpose of this course, I think it’s also a great program for any small and medium size aerial work firm that uses or participate with part-time (non-rated-pilot) Sensor Operators or Secondary ASO Professionals (Photographers, Non-TFO police officers, Research Scientist, etc.) to improve the level of airmanship of each crewmember. The course is not time consuming or expensive compared to other safety or flight orientation training programs, but it’s methodical, economical and effective for small operations and freelance professionals.

Bottomline and just my two-cents, if I were an Aerial Work Business Owner, Aerial Work Pilot or a new ASO or Secondary ASO professional, I would encourage this program for all my crewmembers and fellow ASOs. If you know of other programs like this, let the group know.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Benjamin Franklin

ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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Thank you Richard Glyn-Jones for highlighting this White Paper. BREAK, BREAK If you have any questions, just reachout to can find him in the members area.


Technology brings high-end SAR to the civil world
Smaller, lighter advanced SAR equipment is putting high-end capability in the hands of civil operators.

(Source -

Nowhere has the relentless march of technology and development been more prevalent than in the field of airborne search and rescue.
Advances in sensors, cameras, data transmission technology, navigation systems and airframe design, to say nothing of the rise of unmanned aerial systems, have transformed a task that by sheer cost and logistics was originally the preserve of government and military agencies alone.

Freed from the belt-and-braces survivability requirements of military users, civil electro-optical and infrared sensors, radars and communications products have become lighter, smaller and easier to integrate. Interface and usability advances mean a single operator can perform roles that previously required several, and single and twin-engine aircraft and helicopters now have capability previously only found in large, heavy and complex military platforms.

Such is the availability of these technologies on the civil market that defence forces around the world are relinquishing their civil search and rescue roles to contracted civil operators. These operators are often proving they can do it more cheaply and in some cases better, with a culture and concept of operations geared directly to the civil surveillance and rescue tasks that make up the bulk of any national program.

In many cases advances have been aimed at improving performance of traditional systems such as radar and infrared. But some innovators have turned traditional doctrine on its head, repurposing existing technologies in ground breaking new roles.

Australia’s Sentient Vision Systems has turned airframe mounted digital cameras in to “optical radar”, offering the “track while scan”, wide area surveillance capability and interrogation functions of traditional radar from an optical system that emits no energy, minimises data transmission requirements to ground stations and uses a simple graphical interface that also allows users to slave an aircraft’s primary sensor to any desired contact with the click of a mouse.
ViDAR uses airframe-mounted single or multiple 9-megapixel cameras, which scan the ocean’s surface in a 180-degree arc from any UAS, helicopter or aircraft, imaging a swathe of ocean up to 20 nautical miles wide. Its onboard software autonomously detects any object on the surface of the ocean, flags it on the sensor operator’s screen, and captures and displays a digital still image.

Operators simply watch the passing ant trail of images across their screen to see what the aircraft is detecting in its assigned surveillance area. With a mouse click they can cross-cue the aircraft’s primary sensor, such as an infra-red or daylight TV camera turret, to investigate the contact. ViDAR’s onboard processing system ensures only detected targets are transmitted for analysis, dramatically reducing bandwidth requirements.

In US Coastguard trials ViDAR identified small boats at a range of 17.7 nautical miles, a life raft at 3.7 nautical miles and a mannequin representing a person in the water at 1.5 nautical miles. In trials on small unmanned aerial systems, ViDAR demonstrated that it could search an area 80 times the size of a standard UAS in a single sortie.
ViDAR is already in service aboard the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s four highly modified Challenger 604 search and rescue aircraft, and with the Royal Australian Navy on Boeing’s Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial system and has been demonstrated with the US Coast Guard, EMSA and the UK Unmanned Warrior exercise.
For Simon Olsen, Sentient Vision’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships, ViDAR has the power to ease the workload of search and rescue operators, mitigate sensor operator fatigue on long sorties, and give operators a greater choice of airframes capable of performing the task at hand.

“At the tactical level ViDAR reduces the workload for search and rescue operators and increases the probability of a successful contact, particularly on long and intense sorties,” he said. “Its ability to detect and display objects in the water that may not be readily visible to the human eye reduces a sensor operator’s workload, allowing them more mental acuity to manage the mission and maintain situational awareness.

“But at the strategic level ViDAR has the power to change acquisition decisions in hardware and aircraft, to change capability mixes,” he said. “Offshore patrol vessels previously dependent on shore-based aerial surveillance can now deploy their own. What could previously only be accomplished with a manned aircraft can now be accomplished with a tactical unmanned aerial system, and missions that previously needed large aircraft can now be accomplished with smaller, more cost-effective airframes or helicopters.

“ViDAR brings wide area maritime surveillance and detection within the reach of operators for whom this type of capability was previously outside the realms of technical possibility. It combines the most effective capabilities of both radar and optical sensors, without the limitations of either.”

Sentient Vision Systems
Stewart Day
General Manager
T +61 3 9646 3331

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Besides Law Enforcement aircrews flying over major urbans areas, here’s another group doing almost the same thing but with a different focal point. This article from Rotorcraft Pro and written by Larry K. Clark is a very good and informative post on the aerial news & broadcasting profession.

Life of a News Helicopter Pilot

ASOG Desk Editor

(Image: Wikimedia commons - Peter Clarke)

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Yes, I’ve thought of it many times, but, I never really drilled down to some of the details related to this topic. If you’re interested, read this white paper from the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA). Maybe its just me, but the key words “Airlines” and “Pilots” can be interchanged with “Aerial Work” and “Aircrew”…..cybersecurity has no borders or discriminate between crew positions in an aircraft or on an RPA crew…we’re all pretty much working with some kind of remote and connected Gizmo! ...What do you think?  ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

Aircraft Cybersecurity: The Pilot’s Perspective

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Are you ready to fly? Are you and your fellow crewmembers fit to fly? Is everyone on the crew current on their training? What is the status of your aircraft and mission systems? How is the weather? Etc.

If you’re a new Airborne Sensor Operator or an ASO as a secondary profession (scientist, photopgrapher, forester, etc.) and have not been exposed to some of the aviation safety tools out there, Part 1, 2 and 3 videos will help you get started, i.e., hopefully get you, your crewmembers and flight organization ready to fly! Also, if you feel like you’re Just-Winging-It when it comes to the flight environment you participate in (organization, crewmembers, etc.), take extra notes!

O’, I don’t want to be over dramatic, but flying can get out-of-hand quickly. This video makes that point, especially at low-level. Think Safety!

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Good Macro Reference

I thought I would share this reference for those members who plan and integrate sensor systems and/or who are just professionally interested, I was doing research for one of my clients and I came across this Wikipedia article: “List of Sensors” 

Maybe its just me, I found this macro view and quick access to basic information regarding the different sensors in our world very useful. Some of these sensors are applicable to aviation/aerial remote-sensing and some are not, but, having a broad understanding of the world of sensors can’t hurt.

Here’s a cut and paste of the list:

Acoustic, sound, vibration
Lace Sensor a guitar pickup
Sound locator

Automotive Sensors
Air flow meter
Air–fuel ratio meter
AFR sensor
Blind spot monitor
Crankshaft position sensor
Engine coolant temperature sensor
Hall effect sensor
Wheel speed sensor
Airbag sensors
Automatic transmission speed sensor
Brake fluid pressure sensor
Camshaft position sensor
Crankshaft position sensor
Engine crankcase pressure sensor
Exhaust gas temperature sensor
Fuel level sensor
Fuel pressure sensor
Knock sensor/Light sensor
MAP sensor
Mass airflow sensor
Oil level sensor
Oil pressure sensor
Oxygen sensor (o2)
Parking sensor
Radar sensor
Speed sensor
Throttle position sensor
Tire pressure sensor
Torque sensor
Transmission fluid temperature sensor
Turbine speed sensor
Variable reluctance sensor
Vehicle speed sensor
Water-in-fuel sensor
Wheel speed sensor

Carbon dioxide sensor
Carbon monoxide detector
Catalytic bead sensor
Chemical field-effect transistor
Electrochemical gas sensor
Electronic nose
Electrolyte–insulator–semiconductor sensor
Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
Fluorescent chloride sensors
Holographic sensor
Hydrocarbon dew point analyzer
Hydrogen sensor
Hydrogen sulfide sensor
Infrared point sensor
Ion-selective electrode
Nondispersive infrared sensor
Microwave chemistry sensor
Nitrogen oxide sensor
Oxygen sensor
Ozone monitor
pH glass electrode
Potentiometric sensor
Redox electrode
Smoke detector
Zinc oxide nanorod sensor

Electric current, electric potential, magnetic, radio
Current sensor
Daly detector
Electron multiplier
Faraday cup
Hall effect sensor
Hall probe
Magnetic anomaly detector
MEMS magnetic field sensor
Metal detector
Planar Hall sensor
Radio direction finder
Voltage detector

Environment, weather, moisture, humidity
Air pollution sensor
Bedwetting alarm
Dew warning
Electrochemical gas sensor
Fish counter
Frequency domain sensor
Gas detector
Hook gauge evaporimeter
Leaf sensor
Rain gauge
Rain sensor
Snow gauge
Soil moisture sensor
Stream gauge
Tide gauge

Flow, fluid velocity
Air flow meter
Flow sensor
Gas meter
Mass flow sensor
Water meter

Ionizing radiation, subatomic particles
Cloud chamber
Geiger counter
Geiger-Muller tube
Ionisation chamber
Neutron detection
Proportional counter
Scintillation counter
Semiconductor detector
Thermoluminescent dosimeter

Navigation instruments
Air speed indicator
Attitude indicator
Depth gauge
Fluxgate compass
Inertial navigation system
Inertial reference unit
Magnetic compass
MHD sensor
Ring laser gyroscope
Turn coordinator
Vibrating structure gyroscope
Yaw rate sensor

Position, angle, displacement, distance, speed, acceleration
Capacitive displacement sensor
Capacitive sensing
Flex sensor
Free fall sensor
Gyroscopic sensor
Impact sensor
Integrated circuit piezoelectric sensor
Laser rangefinder
Laser surface velocimeter
Linear encoder
Linear variable differential transformer (LVDT)
Liquid capacitive inclinometers
Photoelectric sensor
Piezoelectric accelerometer
Position sensor
Position sensitive device
Angular rate sensor
Rotary encoder
Rotary variable differential transformer
Shock detector
Shock data logger
Tilt sensor
Ultrasonic thickness gauge
Ultra-wideband radar
Variable reluctance sensor
Velocity receiver
Optical, light, imaging, photon[edit]
Charge-coupled device
CMOS sensor
Contact image sensor
Electro-optical sensor
Flame detector
Infra-red sensor
Kinetic inductance detector
LED as light sensor
Light-addressable potentiometric sensor
Nichols radiometer
Fiber optic sensors
Optical position sensor
Thermopile laser sensors
Photomultiplier tubes
Photoelectric sensor
Photoionization detector
Single-photon avalanche diode
Superconducting nanowire single-photon detector
Transition edge sensor
Visible light photon counter
Wavefront sensor
Boost gauge
Bourdon gauge
Hot filament ionization gauge
Ionization gauge
McLeod gauge
Oscillating U-tube
Permanent Downhole Gauge
Pirani gauge
Pressure sensor
Pressure gauge
Tactile sensor
Time pressure gauge

Force, density, level
Force gauge and Force Sensor
Level sensor
Load cell
Magnetic level gauge
Nuclear density gauge
Piezocapacitive pressure sensor
Piezoelectric sensor
Strain gauge
Torque sensor

Thermal, heat, temperature
Bimetallic strip
Exhaust gas temperature gauge
Flame detection
Gardon gauge
Golay cell
Heat flux sensor
Infrared thermometer
Microwave radiometer
Net radiometer
Quartz thermometer
Resistance thermometer
Silicon bandgap temperature sensor
Special sensor microwave/imager
Temperature gauge

Proximity, presence
Alarm sensor
Doppler radar
Motion detector
Occupancy sensor
Proximity sensor
Passive infrared sensor
Reed switch
Stud finder
Triangulation sensor
Touch switch
Wired glove

Sensor technology
Active pixel sensor
Back-illuminated sensor
Capacitance probe
Capacitance sensor
Catadioptric sensor
Carbon paste electrode
Digital sensors
Displacement receiver
Electromechanical film
Electro-optical sensor
Electrochemical fatigue crack sensor
Fabry–Pérot interferometer
Fisheries acoustics
Image sensor
Image sensor format
Inductive sensor
Intelligent sensor
Leaf sensor
Machine vision
Microelectromechanical systems
Quantum sensor
Radar Ground-penetrating radar
Synthetic aperture radar
Radar tracker
Stretch sensor
Sensor array
Sensor fusion
Sensor grid
Sensor node
Soft sensor
Staring array
Ultrasonic sensor
Video sensor
Visual sensor network
Wheatstone bridge
Wireless sensor network

Speed sensor
Speed sensors are machines used to detect the speed of an object, usually a transport vehicle. They include:
Wheel speed sensors
Pitometer logs
Pitot tubes
Airspeed indicators
Piezo sensors (e.g. in a road surface)
Ground speed radar
Doppler radar
ANPR (where vehicles are timed over a fixed distance)
Laser surface velocimeters for moving surfaces

Air pollution sensor
Analog image processing
Atomic force microscopy
Atomic Gravitational Wave Interferometric Sensor
Attitude control (spacecraft): Horizon sensor, Earth sensor, Sun sensor
Catadioptric sensor
Compressive sensing
Cryogenic particle detectors
Dew warning
Diffusion tensor imaging
Digital holography
Electronic tongue
Fine Guidance Sensor
Flat panel detector
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Glass break detector
Heartbeat sensor
Hyperspectral sensors
IRIS (Biosensor), Interferometric Reflectance Imaging Sensor
Laser beam profiler
Littoral Airborne Sensor/Hyperspectral
Millimeter wave scanner
Magnetic resonance imaging
Moire deflectometry
Molecular sensor
Nano-tetherball Sensor
Omnidirectional camera
Organoleptic sensors
Optical coherence tomography
Phase unwrapping techniques
Polygraph Truth Detection
Positron emission tomography
Push broom scanner
Quantization (signal processing)
Range imaging
Scanning SQUID microscope
Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
SQUID, Superconducting quantum interference device
SSIES, Special Sensors-Ions, Electrons, and Scintillation thermal plasma analysis package
SSMIS, Special Sensor Microwave Imager / Sounder
Structured-light 3D scanner
Sun sensor, Attitude control (spacecraft)
Superconducting nanowire single-photon detector
Thin-film thickness monitor
Time-of-flight camera
TriDAR, Triangulation and LIDAR Automated Rendezvous and Docking
Unattended Ground Sensors


[Image Author: Wikicommons - Jacobst]

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Law Enforcement Thermographer course

Somewhere along the line in my military career I got to attend the Law Enforcement Thermographers course in Victoria BC. It was in its infancy as a course/job stream for LEO's and they were using first generation IR cameras. A lot of what they did was not in airborne applications as there wasnt many Police air units in Canada at that time, so the course was focussed around hand held units the same as firefighters use to go into a smoke filled building to find people. The course was run by Joe Carignan and Charlie Stowell, both with Law Enforcement backgrounds, Joe with the RCMP and Charlie with the DEA. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and I found out a few things about the law with regards to using Infrared to find suspects. I also got to give them a perspective of how to optimize the sensor for the job that they were doing. We seemed to be able to leverage each others strong point to make the course a lot of fun and a great learning opportunity. 

I'm sure that its progressed a lot since the late 90's. If you get a chance to take this course I highly recommend it.

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Posting by: Luke Aspinall (ASOG Member)

Heliwest has a Turn-Key Specialist Intelligence Gathering System available for sale or lease. The system is currently fitted to a Bo105 LS Helicopter and is also compatible with the EC135, Bell 206L or Bell 407 if required. Please note that the system is controlled under ITAR and a US DDTC Export Approval is required.

System Specifications:

MX-15 HDi

The MX-15 is fitted with HD-EOW, SDIR, LRF and Image Blending, has been maintained under a Wescam Service Plan since delivery in 2012 and has a current service plan with Wescam that expires in April 2019.

2 Position Operator Console

The 2 Position Operator Console is suitable for the Bo105 or EC135 type Helicopters and features:
• Two 17 inch Daybrite High Definition Displays with multiple HD-SDI and HDMI inputs.
• Wireless Video Dissemination in Cabin (delivering video to personal smart devices)
• Rugged i7/8GB Fanless PC
• Rugged low latency IP Video Encoder
• Integrated USB power and High-Speed Data transfer for mission data upload/download
• Combined power distribution & aircraft load shed protection
• SSD Production Grade Video Recording

a single position operator console for Bell 206L or Bell 407 is also available, fitted to a rearward facing seat track in the rear cabin.

Downlink System:

A fully integrated Video Downlink system is available, the system has a demonstrated L.O.S range out to 200 Km from the fixed receive site, and also includes a portable pelican case deployable receive system to further extend range.

If you would like more information, please contact Luke via ASOG e-mail or the following:

Manager, Special Operations | HeliwestGroup
+61 488 915 992

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This week’s theme is ride along with an Airborne Sensor Operator (ASO) – Aerial Photographer and Cinematographer. If you’ve ever been interested in this type of ASO work, check out the collection of videos posted here (Part 1 thru 3). Overall, the presenters provide a good overview of airmanship, safety and the science & art of getting the right picture! ASOG

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The Challenge of Quality Video Analysis

The problem facing many strategic, high growth markets that leverage real time video is no optical system or camera is optimized to deliver high-quality actionable video in every environmental condition. There are many applications that can benefit from Instant Visual Clarity in compromised video streams including: Security & Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence, Computer and Machine Vision, Autonomous Vehicles, Urban Traffic Monitoring, Smart Cities and Video Analytics. The quality of the video captured from all optical systems is compromised by a variety of factors. Even the most advanced wide-dynamic range, highdefinition, thermal or infrared cameras are restricted by optical physics and environmental challenges. The following conditions have the most significant effects on capturing high quality, actionable video:

Adverse Lighting caused by night, low light, backlight and extreme contrast like sun glare, headlights and infrared imaging are challenging environments that distress the quality of video. These conditions significantly impact the image quality taken by all camera systems, rendering them ineffective and incapable of delivering meaningful and actionable video.

Extreme Weather conditions impact the visibility of all camera systems. The image quality from cameras operated outdoors can be severely compromised by the effects of severe rain, snow, dense fog, mist or haze removing any chance of capturing actionable data.

Airborne Particles in the environment can also negatively impact the quality of the imagery delivered by the camera. Representative challenges in this area include the impact of sandstorms, smoke, smog, dirt and dust, all of which degrade visibility and the camera’s ability to capture quality video.

The demand for Instant Visual Clarity is rapidly increasing throughout global markets. Realtime, actionable video requirements are expanding across all industries including: Government, Military, Law Enforcement, Healthcare, Maritime, Industrial, Transportation, Agriculture, Retail, Energy and Public Utilities.

Governments and industries are committing significant additional resources to Security & Surveillance. Governments across the world are investing in high quality Video Surveillance Systems as part of their border control, security and anti-terrorism infrastructure. All Security & Surveillance applications can instantly benefit from instantaneous visual clarity.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines: any device that perceives its environment and takes action that maximizes its chance of successfully attaining its goal. AI problems include reasoning, planning, learning, perception, and the ability to move and manipulate objects. For example, Artificial Intelligence enables autonomous planning or calculations for robotic systems to maneuver through an environment. Information about the environment is being provided by computer vision systems, acting as a vision sensor for the robot. Computer Vision addresses how computers can be utilized to derive a high-level understanding (from digital images or video) to automate tasks and enhance the performance of the organic, human visual system and analytical process. Computer Vision is concerned with the theory behind artificial systems that extract information from images. Computer vision systems leveraging ProHawk can extract substantially better data for scene reconstruction, event detection, video tracking, object recognition, 3D pose estimation, learning, indexing and motion estimation. The growth of the market is mainly driven by the increasing adoption of computer vision in autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles, military, industrial and consumer drones; and the rising adoption of Industry 4.0 manufacturing automation and data exchange.

Autonomous vehicles employ embedded software, sensors, and communications systems trending towards advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. True level 5 autonomous driving, full autonomy in any and all conditions, will not be achieved without ProHawk technology. Elon Musk, CEO of a leading autonomous vehicle company, Tesla, has said publicly, “Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved: if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved…You can absolutely be superhuman with cameras.”

Successful implementation of smart city projects heavily depends on technologies – data communications, cloud, mobility, and sensors that seamlessly tie together to form an IoT ecosystem. Typical smart city projects target traffic flow optimization, public safety violence eradication, efficient street light utilization, and parking. Smart cities are enabled by smart cameras that will make sense of what they see in real time.

Governments, industries, commercial organizations all use advanced video analytics for security and to improve operational efficiency. Instant Visual Clarity is essential to key, common video analytics uses including License Plate Recognition, Object Recognition and Facial Recognition.

About the Author: Bob Brown is CEO and CTO of Prohawk Technology Group, the leading provider of Instant Visual Clarity solutions. Bob has over 30 years of experience in software and systems; he has an extensive background in storage management, network management, internet collaboration, telecommunications, and computer vision.

Shared by:  ASOG Member Mike Coppage

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One of ASOG’s goals is to look forward into the future, i.e., professional ASOs tracking and being informed of the next tech changes. With that, is “Blockchain” going to be a major player in the future for Airborne Sensor Operators, i.e., from an aviation, systems and data management perspective?

Like me, if you’re interested to know more, I found these articles to help me understand this new technology and how it might affect my professional ASO future. What do you think…Blockchain or Blockhead technology?

Disrupting aviation with Blockchain

Blockchain in Geospatial Applications, what is a blockchain and how is it relevant for geospatial applications?


ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

(Image: Wikimedia commons - Toni Lozano)

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