ICARUS Cleared to Change How Army Pilots Train for Weather

14th May 2022

ICARUS Devices is excited to share the news that its Smart View Limiting Device has been granted an Air Worthiness Release (AWR) by the US Army. The Instrument Conditions Awareness Recognition and Understanding System (ICARUS) gives instructor pilots simulator like capabilities while flying in the aircraft. ICARUS replaces the “Hood” that was invented by then 1LT Jimmy Doolittle in 1929.

View Limiting Devices (VLD) are utilized by pilots to train for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), which are used to navigate and control aircraft in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) or clouds, fog, haze and dust. These Degrade Visual Environments (DVE) pose a challenge to all aviators and VLDs function to replicate the aviators view outside the cockpit being obscured.

ICARUS is a Smart VLD that changes opacity and allows instructors to dial in the visibility for dynamic scenario-based training. ICARUS simulates Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC) by allowing the instructor to rapidly put a pilot into IMC and practice the critical transition to instrument flight. The lightweight visor is controlled by an app or manually on the Power Control Unit (PCU) by the instructor pilot.

The AWR covers the Army’s UH-60 L/M Blackhawk Utility helicopter, which is its most ubiquitous airframe. The ICARUS team is looking forward to expanding into the other airframes in the Army and DOD.

The ICARUS device’s Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) visor cut out is tailored to each airframe, to ensure pilots do not receive any peripheral visual cues that they do not get in the clouds. The visor weighs 2.5 oz., light enough for pilots to forget they are wearing it, which in addition to being comfortable and safe, improves the quality of the training scenario.

The “Startle” effect is well documented in aviation accidents and ICARUS replicates it IN the aircraft. For the ICARUS team the startle effect is something that they understand well. “The first time I went inadvertent the startle effect almost made me shut down. Had ICARUS Devices been available back then I could’ve trained for this deadly phenomenon beforehand.” says ICARUS’s Erik Sabiston, who flew UH-60 MEDEVAC helicopters in the Army.

“ICARUS is a game changer because it gives you the confidence you need to survive the startle effect and the realism that forces you to make better decisions before you even take off in the first place.”
The Device is already in use by dozens of civilian flight schools, Law Enforcement agencies, and Helicopter Air Ambulances (HAA) operators. 145 devices are flying coast to coast, for initial and recurrent training, and in everything from a Cessna 172 to a CH-47 Chinook.

The ICARUS Device was invented in 2014 and patented in 2016 by pilot and engineer Nick Sinopoli. The ICARUS team would like to thank Metro Aviation for their commitment to aviation innovation and safety. Metro was the first large operator to adopt ICARUS training for all its pilots in its 38 Helicopter Air Ambulance programs throughout the county and has shared its knowledge with others to bring better training to the entire industry.

Source: ICARUS Devices Press Release

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