Development, Design and Integration of Neck Support Systems for Helicopter Pilots – Final Report


  1. Jahanshah, F.
  2. Fan, C.
  3. Lu, Z.
  4. Kapps, A.
  5. Yen, L.
  6. Zhao, S.
  7. Chan, A.
  8. Pasha, M.
  9. Rebello, J.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN);Engineering Services Inc, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Helmet-mounted systems (HMS) designed to enhance a pilot’s performance can also adversely affect the pilot’s safety by increasing the potential of neck injury during helicopter operations, high-acceleration aircraft manoeuvres, and/or a pilot’s ejection process. As a potential solution to these problems, four conceptual designs for Neck Support System (NECSUS) have been introduced and investigated during Phase I of this project. During the current Phase II, design and implementation of most suitable NECSUS prototypes have been performed towards manned testing. Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) have been chosen as an active-material actuating mechanism for the NECSUS configurations developed in Phase II. Gradual-onset activation, compactness, and ease of packaging of the novel SMA-based Modular Support Units (MSU) developed during Phase II encourages the use of this conceptual architecture in NECSUS. Optimized configuration and arrangement of SMA and SE (Super Elastic) elements have been achieved through unmanned in-house experiments accompanied by modeling and simulation techniques. Several experimental test-rigs were built and a testing dummy was custom-configured to collect further data being used for the integrated neck model and verification stages. Numerical and analytical modeling and simulation of both prototype NECSUS and head/neck system were conducted using a special integrated neck model and expert system developed using Dymola/Modelica package. The real-time NECSUS
Muscle Activation;Neck Load;neck pain;tissue damage;exposure time;body-borne equipment;aircrew behaviour;tasks;postures;aircraft;workspace;chronic;episodic;non-chronic
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2018-C021 — Contract Report
Date of publication
01 Jan 2018
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

Permanent link

Document 1 of 1

Date modified: