HAI Convention News

Maximum View Bubble Windows Improve AS350 Hover View

 - January 16, 2017, 5:59 PM
Swiss Rotors Solutions has received EASA certification for its Maximum Pilot View Kit enlarged bubble windows for the Airbus AS350/H125.

Swiss Rotor Solutions has certified its Maximum Pilot View Kit (MPVK), a replacement for the right cockpit door in the Airbus AS350/H125 that gives pilots a much wider field of view during long-line operations and other types of challenging utility helicopter flying. The MPVK received EASA certification on December 21, with the assistance of certification partner GVH Aerospace, which will provide installation and maintenance support. Certification in other countries, including the U.S., Canada and Brazil, is expected to follow shortly. One of the first helicopters to receive the MPVK is a new H125 equipped with Garmin’s G500 display and the Genesys Aerosystems HeliSas autopilot, which is covered in the supplemental type certificate.

The MPVK replaces the AS350’s standard door with a door that has a large bubble window. It meets at the bottom with a transparent fuselage window fairing mounted into a floor and fuselage insert and frame. The side bubble window in the door provides more space for the pilot’s head—including a helmet—particularly when leaning over to look downward through the lower bubble. The result is a much wider field of view directly below the helicopter. To fill the gap between the floor and the door when a downward field of view is not needed and to protect the lower window from debris, the kit includes a solid cover for the bottom window that fits level with the cockpit floor.

Swiss Rotor Solutions, based in Zweisimmen, Switzerland, claims the composite MPVK will increase vertical visibility below the helicopter by a factor of 10. With the standard floor window, the pilot has a view of about 120 sq m (1,290 sq ft), according to the company, and the MPVK boosts that to 1,200 sq m (12,917 sq ft). Kit designers used finite element modeling and computational fluid dynamics to ensure optimum aerodynamic characteristics.

European helicopter insurance providers are offering discounts of about 15 percent for AS350s/H125s with the kit installed. According to Swiss Rotor Solutions, “The MPVK dramatically improves the capability and safety to perform demanding operations such as sling loading, firefighting, SAR/EMS, confined-area operations, aerial survey, seismic, law enforcement and any other tasks performed in close proximity to terrain, obstacles and ground crews or when operating at remote landing sites.”

Installation of the MPVK will take between 70 to 150 hours. Kit cost (not including installation) is about $50,000.