Sikorsky is proceeding with the second phase of flight-testing for its Sara demonstrator, an S-76 fitted with special equipment to expand operational automation.
Lockheed Martin (Stand 1975) is installing its WindTracer windshear and turbulence-detection system at Dubai International Airport (DXB), where it will be used to detect aircraft wake vortices, thus allowing for increased runway utilization. Two WindTracers have been installed this year and a third one is to follow in the first quarter of next year, Michael Margulis, WindTracer program director, told AIN. WindTracer is a long-range, 3-D-scanning pulsed doppler lidar-based system.
The first autonomous takeoff and landing of the Sikorsky Autonomous Research Aircraft (Sara)–an S-76 fitted with fly-by-wire controls, sensors and software for unmanned operations–is expected to take place within days, according to program manager Igor Cherepinsky. So far, he told AIN, Sara’s autonomous flights were following a trajectory to and from a hover.
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.
Elbit’s El-Op division has developed a laser radar system capable of detecting obstacles. Called LORD (laser obstacle ranging and display), the system is capable of detecting such obstacles as electrical wires and antennas, thus providing real-time alerts to pilots flying low level in adverse weather conditions. El-Op has built up considerable experience in the development of eyesafe lasers based on optical fibers.
EADS and DRS Technologies have agreed to collaborate on production and marketing of the Hellas laser-based obstacle warning system in the U.S. Hellas is said to offer “unprecedented protection” for helicopters against difficult-to-detect obstacles such as power lines.