TAWS, TCAS Coming to More Helicopters

 - January 29, 2009, 9:48 AM

As part of an effort to reduce the number of fatal helicopter crashes, safety experts are promoting widespread use of terrain and traffic alert systems that are commonplace in turbine-powered airplanes. Offshore helicopter operator Bristow Group has developed and certified TCAS II (traffic collision avoidance system), a worldwide first for helicopters. The FAA supplemental type certificate for the Rockwell Collins system will be used to equip Bristow’s company fleet and offered to the broader rotorcraft industry as a safety improvement.

Uptake is expected to occur globally in the coming years, with TCAS II likely becoming part of the basic equipment package for many fleet operators. It is currently certified on the Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma and will be introduced on the Sikorsky S-92 and S-76 in the near future. A number of TAWS (terrain awareness and warning system) makers have also adopted their systems for rotorcraft use, with EGPWS maker Honeywell leading the call for adoption of the technology in rotorcraft.