HAI Convention News

Safe Flight Improves Powerline Detection Tool for Helicopters

 - February 24, 2014, 7:50 PM
Safe Flight updated its digital powerline detection system for helicopters to detect 50 Hz and 60 Hz frequencies produced by powerlines.

Safe Flight (Booth No. 2516) introduced its upgraded digital powerline detection system (DPDS) and provided an update about ongoing development of its icing conditions detector (ICD) at Heli-Expo 2014.

The DPDS adds a digital signal processor to Safe Flight’s previous analog system, allowing the detection of both 60Hz and 50Hz frequencies produced by power lines around the world. Safe Flight director of government and military sales Greg Hilewitz noted testing on an AS355 showed the DPDS detected a 22,000-volt line at more than one statute mile distant.

“[Compared with] radar and database systems that have to be updated and are quite heavy and traditional cutter systems, our product is lightweight and low cost,” he added, following an “aggressive” price reduction this year to $12,313 for the DPDS.

The DPDS provides a visual warning, as well as an audible alert that intensifies in frequency similar to a Geiger counter, as the helicopter closes on power lines. The system has been certified on a variety of helicopters.

Hilewitz also announced that the company’s ICD recently completed a third round of wind tunnel testing at the National Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada. The lightweight and low profile ICD uses independent moisture and temperature sensors to visually alert helicopter pilots to conditions conducive to airframe icing, a particular threat to rotorcraft, Hilewitz noted, as most helicopters are not rated for flight into known icing.

“Even though you may not see ice accretion on the structure or windshield, the sensor will alert you to those conditions,” Hilewitz said. Safe Flight is currently seeking an OEM certification partner for the system and has not released possible pricing for the ICD.