This research derives from the AAIB Safety Recommendation 2008-036: “It is recommended that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) investigate methods to increase the conspicuity of immersion suits worn by the flight crew, in order to improve the location of incapacitated survivors of a helicopter ditching”.
The study examined the potential to exploit retro reflective materials to increase the conspicuity of aircrew in a rescue scenario. It includes a review of the capabilities of the aircraft equipment used for Search and Rescue (SAR) in a maritime environment and the underlying concepts relating to conspicuity. A high fidelity field trial was then conducted to evaluate the performance of modified immersion suit in a simulated SAR mission. Recommendations are made on how standards for immersion suit design may be evolved in the future.