US Navy Introduces New Safety Measures

New procedures that will aid surface warfare officers and helicopter pilots while increasing safety during flight operations on destroyers have been successfully tested and recently rolled out to the US fleet.

“Operator polar plots” (OPP) consist of a series of placard overlays that identify limits and safety considerations that take into account a ship’s speed and sea conditions in addition to pitch, roll and relative winds. Based on the height and direction of waves, a specific OPP is used by both the ship’s officer of the deck and the helicopter pilot to determine the best options for safely landing a helicopter on a ship’s flight deck.

Destroyers and their aviation detachment crews fleetwide have been trained on using the OPPs. As well, surface officers in training pipelines including the Basic Division Officer Course, Surface Warfare Officer School, and prospective CO/XO indoctrination are also being trained on their usage before heading to their new commands.

Image: US Navy