Nova’s genesis was through the combination of Test Pilot experience with Flight Test Engineer expertise. This is a true melding of art and science. Test pilots are not ordinary pilots: they combine exceptional piloting skill with a strong engineering bent. Similarly, Flight Test Engineers are not ordinary engineers: they combine engineering excellence with a strong operational focus. This is the nexus of Nova’s success: we combine the technical expertise necessary to solve the problem with the operational experience to know which problems need solving.
The issue of ship/helicopter integration is one area where Nova’s combination of T&E art and science is crucial. Helicopters undoubtedly increase a ship’s operational capability, however, the manner in which a helicopter is operated from a ship is vital to realising that capability. Ships give up valuable real estate in order to embark a helicopter. Invariably, the helicopter brings increased capability, but that value is lost if operating limits restrict the use of the helicopter. This is critical when the ship becomes dependant on the helicopter to provide essential force protection or offensive capabilities. A full understanding of the operational and technical issues at play in this situation is necessary to ensure the potential capability of the helicopter is realised.
Nova has deep understanding of the issues involved in Ship Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOL) development and in First of Class Flight Trials (FOCFT). Nova has been an integral part of the ARH Tiger and MRH90 helicopter acquisition programs since 2004 and is now fully involved in the integration of these capabilities onto the Land Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships now in service with the Royal Australian Navy. Nova also successfully conducted AIR 9000 Phase 8 Ship helicopter Interface studies. All of these successful tasks are founded on Nova’s unmatched experience of the Australian Defence T&E market.