Cobham Avionics, specifically the former S-Tec autopilot house in Mineral Wells, Texas, yesterday described the functions, features and financial benefits of its HeliSAS digital two-axis, stability-augmentation and autopilot system (SAS) for light helicopters. Jim Shirey, Cobham Avionics helicopter autopilot product manager, gave $125,000 as the approximate “installed, out-the-door, in the customer’s hands price” for a HeliSAS installation in a Bell 407- or Eurocopter AS350-class helicopter.
The entire autopilot including pitch and roll servos weighs about 12.5 pounds. Shirey noted that the SAS can be engaged upon engine start and will keep the helicopter on an even keel thereafter, while gracefully allowing pilot control inputs. The HeliSAS, in addition to stability augmentation, provides HSI heading command interface, heading and altitude hold, GPS course and coupled localizer and glideslope tracking. Even though it is a VFR system, Shirey said the HeliSAS is capable of flying a coupled ILS approach should the occasion arise.
The system received an FAA supplemental type certificate for the Robinson R44 last November and STC programs are under way with Edwards & Associates, Bristol, Tenn., and Metro Aviation, of Shreveport, La., for installations on the Bell 206 series, the 407 and the AS350.