HeliTrak is in the final development stage for its new Robinson R22 autopilot, as well as its collective pull down (CPD) system, also for the Robinson R22 helicopter. The systems can be coupled to create a “significant improvement in flight safety,” according to HeliTrak.
The R22 autopilot is the first helicopter autopilot developed for a helicopter without hydraulically boosted controls, HeliTrak president John Mercer told AIN.
The new two-axis autopilot, priced at $35,000, is self-contained with built-in air data attitude heading reference system and triple-redundant sensor suite. Autopilot features will thus include unusual attitude recovery and continuous low-g warning. Two operating modes are available: heading and altitude hold, and heading and speed hold. Controls are mounted on the cyclic and can be manipulated by the pilot’s thumb, allowing the pilot to change altitude, speed and heading.
The CPD (priced at $15,000) automatically lowers the collective in about half a second, according to HeliTrak, in a low-rotor-RPM situation. “This allows the pilot more time to react to a power loss to avoid a catastrophic result.” The CPD weighs less than two pounds.
HeliTrak has submitted STC documentation to the FAA in preparation for the approval flight test. The company expects certification documentation for the R22 autopilot to be completed early next year. HeliTrak also plans to develop CPD systems for other helicopters.