Vita Inclinata, February 25, 2021 - After months of electromagnetic testing and engineering refinements, Vita’s Load Stability Systems Litter Attachment was named “safe to fly” under H-60 Blackhawks by the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL).
It’s a stunning achievement for a startup by any standards, but especially by the rigorous standards of USAARL. The testing occurred at the Fort Rucker Aviation Base in preparation for Project Convergence 21, the military’s initiative to modernize and transform its operations, which includes future hoist requirements.
Just as important, the successful field tests were the culmination of months of Electromagnetic Interference and Aircraft Compatibility Testing in anechoic chambers, which ultimately concluded that Vita’s LSS Litter Attachment does not interfere with aircraft electronics systems, clearing the way for the LSS-LA to be test flown under Blackhawk HH-60M and UH-60L aircraft.
Vita’s advancements in aircraft compatibility compliance were perhaps the greatest engineering challenge and success we have faced. “At times, it felt like chasing ghosts — figuring out where to look, what to try, hunting down the slightest potential interference,” said Derek Sikora, Vita’s co-founder and CTO. “The development teams really came together to make this happen.”
No Electromagnetic Interference: Performed as Designed
The LSS-LA performed as designed in hoist insertion and extraction exercises, controlling unpredictable motion without taglines and mitigating as much risk as possible. The system successfully provided crews the ability to remotely orient or rotate the litter, as well as eliminate swing and spin with the touch of a button.
The trials included an empty litter, a litter with a mannequin, and a barrel man (hoist), under relentless rotor wash across multiple scenarios.
“USAARL flight tests medical systems used in the U.S. military medical evacuation environment to ensure safe interactions among the aircraft, medical system, aircrew, and patients,” said David Jones, Director of the Enroute Care Group for USAARL. “The Army needs systems that meet military and industry rotary-wing aircraft standards to ensure safe and effective operations.”
Vita was able to not only test the LSS-LA and train the personnel who would use the system, but in the process also gained invaluable feedback on ergonomic refinements, which the company is already acting upon.
“We are grateful to be rigorously testing our system with the Army MEDEVAC community, because ultimately this is the community that the solution is designed for,” said Sikora, who led the testing for Vita.
“We know that in the field, no two scenarios are alike. Flight crews are constantly communicating, scouting, managing complex unknowns at any given moment. We mitigate at least one unknown: we provide a stable hoist that crews can easily get down and up in a timely manner. The LSS is a tool, not a crutch,” he added.
“Taken together, the LSS’ aircraft compatibility and its successful field trials show that our solution immediately de-risks helicopter rescues, whether for other military branches or commercial operations,” said Caleb Carr, Vita Inclinata founder and CEO. “I am incredibly proud of our engineering team, which has punched above its weight to create an intuitive, autonomous stabilization tool that aids first responders in rescuing others.”
This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more awesomeness from our Vita’s engineers!