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    FAA approves Sandel HeliTAWS helicopter terrain awareness & warning system for Part 27 and Part 29 AML-STCs

    Sandel Avionics Inc., a provider of wire, terrain, and obstacles alerting technology for helicopters, has received its first HeliTAWS Approved Model List (AML) Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) for Part 27 and Part 29.

    “Sandel is working aggressively to add additional airframes to each AML-STC,” says Varun Malik, director of Certification for Sandel. “It is a challenging and iterative process, but we were able satisfy all the stakeholders at FAA. The end goal of the AML STC is to have the product installed on many airframes using the data that was used for initial STC.”

    An AML-STC is similar to multi-model approval, with appropriate reuse of compliance data across TC data sheets. It allows models to be added, progressively, by updating the AML listing, provided similarity and differences are substantiated. The goal of the AML-STC is to provide more standardized installation for approved models listed on the AML. It is not a means to relax compliance to any regulatory requirements.

    Sandel’s ST3400H Part 27 AML-STC covers Eurocopter AS350, B, BA, B1, B2, B3, C, D, D1 airframe models. The ST3400H Part 29 AML-STC covers Bell 412, EP, CF airframe models. The proposed list of airframes selected for the next round of GAP analysis are Bell 212, 206, 206-A, 206A-1 (OH-58A), 206B, 206B-1, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3, 206L-4, 407, Eurocopter EC13-B4, EC130T2.​

  • #2
    Cockpit Voice Recorders for Airbus Helicopters

    Airbus Helicopters has embarked on a plan to fit its entire commercial helicopter family with in-cockpit imaging and flight-data recorders by 2015, according to CEO Guillaume Faury.

    The move, announced at Heli-Expo 2014, was prompted in part by the loss of an EC135T2 light twin operated by Police Scotland that crashed into a bar in central Glasgow Nov. 29, killing all three onboard and seven people inside the building. Three months into the accident probe, investigators are still struggling to understand why transfer pumps in the helicopter's fuel system were switched off and why the pilot was unable to make a controlled landing after the engines had flamed out.


    • #3
      Spidertracks Eyes New Business After Robinson Deal

      Auckland, New Zealand-based Spidertracks is hopeful of other deals with helicopter manufacturers after its Spider real-time tracking system was recently selected by Robinson Helicopters as an option for all R22, R44 and R66 models.

      The Spidertracks system uses the Iridium satellite network to send real-time aircraft location to a web application. Two versions are available – the Spider S3 which costs U.S. $995 and the S5 at $1795, which is enabled with Bluetooth allowing the user to send and receive SMS messages to any iOS or Android device.

      The Spider S3

      The company has sold nearly 4,500 systems, with 50 percent of these used on helicopters – operators who were early adopters of the technology, says Kathryn Dallison, marketing executive. Australian operator Heliwest, for example, uses the system to track its 29 helicopters. Sundance Helicopters in the U.S. is using it to track its helicopters in the Grand Canyon, as is Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters.

      Under the agreement with Robinson, all aircraft will be pre-wired with a Spider power cord and a mounting bracket will be installed on top of the instrument cluster, offering clear view to the sky for optimal connectivity to GPS and Iridium satellites, says Spidertracks chief executive officer James McCarthy.

      “With the Robinson Helicopters relationship in our repertoire, we are confident that we can work with any aircraft manufacturer to achieve the same outcome,” Dallison says. Spidertracks is talking to other manufacturers, he adds, declining to provide details.


      • #4
        Bell 407 GX modified by PAC International:


        • #5

          Hughes Refines Helicopter Satcom

          Hughes Systems has progressed on the development and implementation of a new waveform specialized for rotary wing Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) satellite communications (satcom). First introduced last year, the company is working with several prime contractors for helicopter mainframes on a satcom system where the antenna sits under the fuselage.

          Helicopters present a challenge for satcom, as the rapid movement of the rotary blades creates serious interference between the antenna and the satellite. The Hughes waveform, called “Microsat” or more formally, Scrambled Code Multiple Access (SCMA), has been in development for about five years, according to Rick Lober, VP and general manager of defense and intelligence systems at Hughes. It works by quickly reacquiring after passing through the helicopter blades and is equipped with a forward error correction code to make up for lost data packets, effectively reassembling any lost information.

          “We get very good results: no packet loss, and about 10 Mbps throughput through the helicopter blades,”Lober told Via Satellite at Milcom. “We’ve done quite a bit of testing with a couple of prime contractors over the last year or two, and we now have a packaged modem and airborne-qualified type enclosure that we are marketing for both fixed wing and rotary wing applications.”

          The microsat waveform resists getting “chopped up” by the helicopter, enabling the deployment of smaller terminals in Ku, Ka and X band. Lober said the waveform consequently has anti-jamming characteristics as well, since the way a rotary system interferes with a signal is not too different from a pulse jammer.

          The defense sector is a top market for this new waveform. Hughes has based the system on its HX satellite broadband platform, meaning it meets the Federal Information Processing (FIPS) 140-2, Level 2 encryption standard as well as Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) requirements. Microsat can be used for both manned and unmanned rotary vehicles.

          Hughes’ HX platform has taken the spotlight for mobility and military markets. Analysts at Comsys noted in the 2014 Hughes Market Summary and Company Profile Report how the platform’s ability to support traffic switching between beams and global roaming between different hubs with the same Network Management System (NMS) are advantageous features for these applications.

          “We believe that Hughes continues to have big ambitions for the HX. As we speculated in the previous section with respect to the likely application of Hughes’ Jupiter System technology on the next generation HT platform for enterprises, it is quite likely that the HX will become a beneficiary as well with significantly higher data rates and greater IP throughput performance added to the system over time,” Comsys analysts wrote. “The HX’s comms-on-the-move (COTM) and military capabilities also open up segments that Hughes has not been strong in historically as it focused on larger volume opportunities.”

          Lober confirmed that Hughes is looking at applying the microsat waveform to more than just helicopters, specifically highlighting other COTM applications. In the meantime, he said more testing is planned as the company works to reduce the size and weight, and to optimize the packaging for airborne use. These improvements are expected to make the waveform and associated technologies more applicable to a larger set of platforms.

          “We expect to start moving onto other platforms in FY15, including commercial rotary wings applications, and actually deploying the system,” he said.


          • #6
            Turkey Develops Synthetic Vision Variant

            An Ankara information technology company has developed software that allows helicopters to fly in foggy weather conditions.

            PiriReis Informatics Technologies, which operates at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) techno-city in Ankara, has developed software enabling chopper captains to see the geographical obstacles in 3D on a screen even when visibility is close to zero.

            The software is most remarkable for showing electricity poles and wires that are not visible to the naked eye when seen from the helicopter’s cockpit.

            The software shows electricity poles and wires that are not visible to the naked eye

            Gökhan Dağgez, an engineer working in the development of the software, said the standard systems in helicopters show only the horizontal and vertical situation, and the altitude of the chopper, whereas the newly developed software presents all the geographical obstacles in 3D format in every weather condition.

            “Around the world, only U.S. and Israel are manufacturing these systems. We have developed this [system] all on national terms,” Dağgez said, adding that they had obtained the map details and locations of the electric wires from the relevant institutions.

            The engineer said they had developed a warning system that alerted the captain 20 seconds prior to hitting an obstacle that was before the helicopter. The alarm’s audible and visual warnings become stronger once the chopper is 10 seconds away from the obstacle.

            The systems main element was the GPS/INS device that sent the aircraft’s location to a computer via satellite.

            “The software we developed collects this data [provided by the GPS/INS device] and the map details, processes it and warns the pilot,” Dağgez said.

            The software is a complementary air navigation device that needs to be placed in all choppers. He said they had presented the details of the software to all the institutions that would need to use it.

            Recalling helicopter accidents in Turkey due to thick fog, Dağgez said the software would come in handy when there is almost no visibility for flight.

            “According to the investigations, the accident with the chopper carrying Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu occurred as a result of the plane hitting a mountain in foggy weather,” said Dağgez, also noting the latest helicopter accident in the northwestern province of Kocaeli that led to the death of four officers on Oct. 12.

            The helicopter carrying the head of the Great Union Party (BBP), Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, crashed in a mountainous region in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş while it was traveling from an election rally on March 25, 2009. All five passengers on the helicopter were found dead when the wreckage was located 47 hours later, including journalist İsmail Güneş, who called for help before succumbing to injuries he sustained in the accident.

            “The system needs to also be used in firefighting aircraft that fly in thick smoke, as well as with ambulance helicopters,” Dağgez said.


            • #7

              Latitude Lightweight FDR Now Certified for EC135

              Latitude Technologies, a global supplier of flight data monitoring, flight following, and Satcom solutions for all helicopter types, has achieved a Transport Canada Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of Latitude’s IONode ION100 lightweight flight data recorder (LFDR) on the versatile Airbus EC135 light helicopter.

              As part of the installation the Latitude unit is interfaced to the Airbus VEMD (Vehicle Engine Monitoring Device), providing timely and automated access to all digital bus data parameters for engines torque, temperature and RPMs. The IONode also captures and similarly distributes air data and heading parameters along with its built-in inertial and GPS sensor information.

              Latitude’s IONode ION100 is the industry’s smallest and lightest with the expansion of the IONode ION100’s data management capability to include VEMD data output. The IONode ION100 now also ranks as one of the most versatile LFDRs on the market. The IONode ION100, available in four standard configurations to suit legacy as well fully digital aircraft, is being deployed on both fixed-wing and rotor-wing aircraft of progressive fleet operators across the globe.


              • #8
                New Powerline Detector Launched

                The machine gun-like staccato pulses in the pilot’s headset grew more intense and accelerated the closer the Bell 206 turbine helicopter came to powerlines along Orlando’s Interstate 4. Pilot Andrew Hayden of AirOcean Aviation in Yalesville, Connecticut, was hired by Safe Flight to provide demonstrations of the system prior to the National Business Aviation Association convention in Florida Oct. 21 through 23.

                A Bell 206 from AirOcean in Connecticut demonstrates Safe Flight's new powerline detection system

                The helicopter landing site is used for tourist helicopter scenic flights near the Orlando convention center. The landing capped a demonstration flying 500 feet above powerlines between Orlando and Kissimmee. Hayden demonstrated that when powerlines are backlit by the sun, they seem to disappear. Helicopter pilots normally have only four or five seconds to react to the sight of powerlines in the flight path, but the system gives aural warning eight seconds before reaching the powerlines. While the system has been offered for years, it was recently upgraded to include both 50 Hz (international) and 60 Hz (United States) in one digital processing system.

                On the 206 the powerline detection system antenna is mounted on the aft fuselage

                The entire system adds only a pound to the weight of the helicopter, and includes a display with a sensitivity control, a button that provides a warning light. By pushing that button the pilot can silence the warning. The system is called the Dual Frequency Powerline Detection System. It is approved for a dozen helicopter models and will soon be approved for the Bell 429.

                The powerline detector cockpit interface

                As we approached the landing site, I had mentioned to Hayden that I couldn’t see the powerlines along the busy interstate. “But we can hear them,” he answered.