The aircraft modification segment of Butler National’s wholly owned subsidiary Avcon (Booth No. C3004) is exhibiting at Heli-Expo for the first time. Avcon is armed with a novel concept design for a skid-mount portable system for Lidar system operations in rotorcraft. Avcon modifies business and cargo aircraft, both fixed-wing and rotorcraft, in Newton, Kansas, and provides many FAA-approved solutions to a variety of operators.
Avcon offers customers specialty modifications on an individual basis. In the case of the skid-mount portable system, DWTA Helicopters director of operations Wolf Zon showed Avcon some conceptual drawings for a secure yet temporary skid-mounting system for a customer’s Robinson R66. The idea was to develop a system that doesn’t require an STC.
“In this instance a customer with a Robinson R66 that is required to operate in rough and high-altitude environments came to us because he needed to install a sophisticated Lidar terrain topography mapping system and he did not want a permanent installation,” said Zon. “He did not want something that required an STC or 337. And he had multiple missions for which he wanted to use the aircraft.”
Avcon lead engineer Matt Paulson took over. “We’re a small company so when we want things done fast we do them ourselves,” he said. “[That includes] the fabrication and installation process, as well as the design. It just speeds the process up. We’ve got three-axis CNC machines, sheet-metal tools, aircraft certified welders, all on site.”
“Matt took conceptual work from me and in less than seven weeks produced a workable noninvasive helicopter attachment system for the Lidar,” said Zon. The concept design has been installed on a Robinson R66 and included a Leica ALS70 Lidar laser scanning system, pilot head-up display, system operator console and display and main system CPU with laser controller.
Future applications of this concept design are being evaluated, according to Avcon national account manager Steve Broussard. The company is considering the new system for other helicopter airborne external systems such as cameras, FLIR, lighting units and even portable controller and or cargo-baggage configurations. o