Using helicopter noise to prevent brownout crashes: an acoustic altimeter
Freedman, Joseph Saul
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This thesis explores one possible method of preventing helicopter crashes caused by brownout using the noise generated by the helicopter rotor as an altimeter. The hypothesis under consideration is that the helicopter's height, velocity, and obstacle locations with respect to the helicopter, can be determined by comparing incident and reflected rotor noise signals, provided adequate bandwidth and signal to noise ratio. Heights can be determined by measuring the cepstrum of the reflected helicopter noise. The velocity can be determined by measuring small amounts of Doppler distortion using the Mellin-Scale Transform. Height and velocity detection algorithms are developed, optimized for this application, and tested using a microphone array. The algorithms and array are tested using a hemianechoic chamber and outside in Georgia Tech's Burger Bowl. Height and obstacle detection are determined to be feasible with the existing array. Velocity detection and surface mapping are not successfully accomplished.