HAI Convention News

Aspen mounts new charge into helo retrofits

 - February 21, 2010, 3:41 PM

The trend toward “plug and play” replacement of legacy electromechanical instrumentation with electronic glass displays continues into the rotorcraft market with an STC won by Aspen Avionics authorizing installation of its EFD1000H flight display system in Bell 206 and 407 panels. A full-function simulator at the Aspen booth (No. 2304) demonstrates the system’s versatility, ease of installation and user-friendly pilot-machine interface. Aspen bills it as “the lowest priced certified EFIS in the helicopter market.”

Albuquerque, N.M.-based Aspen, in partnership with Keystone Helicopter, achieved certification of its Evolution EFD1000 fixed-wing primary flight display (PFD) with helicopter-specific software. Aspen helicopter sales manager Anson Gray predicted that helicopter operators will appreciate the EFD1000H’s light weight, compact form and specially designed vibration-isolating kit. He said the simple installation in standard three-inch, instrument-panel holes and modular architecture of EFD1000H units in PFD and multifunction display (MFD) configurations are already attracting strong interest among helicopter operators.

Two nearly physically identical EFD1000H boxes taking no more space than an array of electromechanical air data, attitude and nav instruments can provide almost total reversionary display capability at a cost of less than $27,000, Gray noted. “An operator can put a PFD in now [for $14,995] and add the MFD [$11,995] later to get the full redundancy and reversionary benefits.” The PFD-configured display unit contains integral attitude/heading reference and air data computer modules. A remotely mounted magnetic heading flux valve is packaged with a backup GPS receiver. He predicted that a PFD digital readout of computed actual wind direction and velocity will be especially useful to pilots dealing with “settling with power” situations.

Gray said Aspen is currently negotiating for approximately 50 installations, “a lot of them public use, on UH-1s and Bell 205s, and MD500s.” The first certified ship is a Bell OH-58 operated by the Dale County, Alabama, sheriff’s office.