Is a Brownout Solution Near?

Air Force officials have called brownout—the extremely reduced visibility condition often created by rotary wing aircraft operating in desert regions—a top operational problem. In April 2006, the Air Force Research Lab solicited industry interest in developing potential sensor solutions that would let rotary wing pilots “maintain geospatial awareness” and “confirm that the landing zone is suitable for landing.” The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, working on the issue with AFRL, hosted an industry workshop in the Washington, D.C. area yesterday. DARPA has dubbed its effort the Sandblaster Program.