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Flight Systems

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory’s (USAARL) Flight Systems Branch (FSB) provides to the laboratory aviation subject matter expertise and manages the laboratory’s aviation research, development, test, and evaluation flight support assets.  These assets include the world’s only dedicated aeromedical research Black Hawk helicopter (JUH-60A) and an aeromedical/environmental Black Hawk flight simulator (NUH-60FS).  The FSB is committed to providing world-class aeromedical support to the laboratory’s research divisions and to an ever growing number of external organizations including Department of Defense laboratories, industry, non-government agencies, and academia.


The JUH-60A Black Hawk helicopter, 88-26069, or “Research 69” is a research and development airframe modified for in-flight data collection.  The aircraft is capable of recording in-flight aircraft performance parameters such as airspeed, altitude, position, instrument landing system indications, distance measuring equipment (DME), ground speed, and ground tracking.  USAARL custom tailors data collection software to meet the specifications of research studies and merges aircraft data with physiological data collected from the research participant pilot.  The aircraft is equipped for all weather operations with a storm scope Wx1000+ and Bendix-King color weather radar.  The JUH-60A also features a DME, ASN 128D Enhanced instrument flight rules  certified global positioning system (GPS), medical evacuation interiors , external hoist, pilot locating system, a 200-gallon Robertson internal auxiliary fuel tank, Lima model transmission, and a suite of advanced communications radios which include SATCOM, VHF, UHF, FM, and HF bands.  The communications radios allow uninterrupted communication to USAARL and the capability to relay physiological telemetry to the laboratory.  In addition the aircraft has a Garmin 530 GPS system with traffic and terrain avoidance systems, which afford enhanced situational awareness and a high degree of safety during flight research protocols.

The NUH-60FS Aeromedical Research Blackhawk Flight Simulator is the world’s only environmentally controlled, full-motion, full-visual aeromedical research flight simulator.  It replicates hot and cold environments (i.e., climate controlled to produce temperatures between 40 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit) and visual databases from around the world.  The simulator features infrared lighting and cameras, specially adapted sound and noise replication, and a night vision goggle head-up display, advanced flight symbology and emulated aircraft sensor.  The simulator also configures to the Alpha, Lima, or Mike model Black Hawk cockpit instrumentation.  The NUH-60FS has the unique ability to capture pilot performance and physiological data, such as core body temperature, electroencephalogram, electrocardiogram, respiratory rate, galvanic skin response, and eye-tracker data.  During studies conducted in the simulator, a USAARL research pilot monitors data collection on-board the simulator, while medical and research technicians observe data collection from a fully instrumented and monitored external control station.

UH-60M advanced cockpit display fully functional façade

During 2014, the simulator underwent a face-lift, having received an advanced UH-60M façade, which provides four multi-function cockpit displays which were utilized to evaluate advanced flight symbology, to emulate sensor imagery, and analyze cockpit display latency and field of view aeromedical factors.

USAARL Flight Simulator Control Room USAARL Flight Simulator Control Room

Flight simulator data collection and biometric control room

The FSB is led by a supervisory aeromedical research instructor pilot and multiple aeromedical evacuation instructor pilots, and is supported by a team of flight surgeons, flight medics, aerospace psychologists, research technicians, and contract maintenance support personnel.  The FSB’s highly-skilled pilots provide expertise in aerospace physiology, human factors, and human system integration, and consult on a variety of topics, such as cockpit design, helmet mounted displays, and hypoxia prevention/oxygen delivery solutions for rotary wing.  The FSB team assists the laboratory’s researchers develop aeromedical research flight protocols and identify effective measures of pilot performance.  The team also provides subject matter expertise regarding aeronautical and operational considerations pertaining to data collection and aviation missions.

USAARL Hoist Testing USAARL Hoist Testing

To reserve USAARL’s JUH-60A or NUH-60FS or for additional information, contact us.

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This Web site provides an introduction to the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) and contains official Government information. Its use is intended for members of the general public, news media and U.S Army beneficiaries. Please address questions or concerns about this website to the USAARL Public Affairs Office via email or by telephone at 334-255-6883