Sandel Avionics has shipped the first production WireWatch helicopter wire alerting system software upgrade to Agusta A109 operator North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsville, Minn. MSP Aero of Minneapolis is installing the upgrade.
Controlled flight into terrain
Hawaii’s highly changeable, localized weather could be a factor in the fatal crash of another air-tour helicopter. The NTSB is investigating the November 10 crash of a new Eurocopter EC130B4 EcoStar on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. The EcoStar was operated by Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, the launch customer for the EcoStar in 2001, and was owned by a Nevada leasing company.
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).
Embraer has certified a new traffic collision alert and avoidance system (TCAS) and a terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) for its Phenom 100 light jet.
Honeywell regularly brings its company-owned Eurocopter AS350 (N350FD) to Heli-Expo, and this year is no exception. “The helicopter is certified for experimental and market survey use,” explained Steve Kilbourne, senior test pilot. “We use it for development of Honeywell equipment and demonstrations to customers and potential customers.”
Garmin unveiled yesterday at Heli-Expo 2010 the G500H avionics system, specifically for the VFR Part 27 helicopter market.
The recent increase in fatal helicopter accidents, along with a push by the FAA to standardize the manufacture of helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS), has prompted a number of avionics companies to expand their product offerings and make changes to existing systems.
Change is coming to the helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) industry, and once the dust settles there could be fewer providers flying fewer helicopters in a more costly and highly regulated environment.
Honeywell is testing a new type of automated cockpit concept that can take control of airplanes to keep them from flying into the ground or buildings. Called assisted recovery, the system uses the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) and autopilot to steer an airplane away from terrain or obstacles if the pilot has not attempted to do so within five seconds of an EGPWS warning.
It is impossible to ignore the role technology has played in making the art of powered, heavier-than-air flight incrementally safer for the successive generations of aviators who have laid witness to a remarkable 100-year history.