HAI Convention News

Heli-Expo 2011: Sandel Helitaws To Add Wire Alerting

 - March 7, 2011, 12:30 PM

Sandel Avionics is demonstrating the wire-strike prevention feature it is adding to its HeliTaws terrain-avoidance system. The Vista, Calif., displays manufacturer (Booth No. 3518) is showing comparison video from a helicopter flight over northern San Diego County with simultaneous side-by-side presentations of the Helitaws and another company’s terrain awareness warning system (Taws).

The video includes Sandel’s WireWatch feature depicting power transmission lines and towers along and adjacent to the helicopter flight path, color-coded according to relative altitude and threat level. The company is compiling a detailed list of transmission lines throughout the U.S. and plans to offer customized terrain databases containing wire hazards for specific operating areas. Sandel says it is the only helicopter Taws provider in the world to be adding wire avoidance to its terrain database.

The comparison video shows a competing Taws, which meets minimum operating performance standards terrain-avoidance criteria, generating and displaying a large number of nuisance alerts as the helicopter maneuvers over hilly terrain.

Sandel CEO Gerry Block, who was on the flight, said, “While both systems could, in theory, help to avoid CFIT [controlled flight into terrain], only HeliTaws could recognize a real hazard, display it properly and provide guidance without a constant barrage of nuisance alerts. It got so bad we had to turn the [other system’s] aural alert off.”