Following the introduction of the Atlas touchscreen flight management system (FMS) for legacy business jets in October, Avidyne has developed the Helios version for rotorcraft. Helios is a Dzus-mounted unit that fits into a typical cockpit console on Part 27 and 29 helicopters, and Avidyne’s initial target market is the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and S-76 and Bell 212 and 412. Helios will be available later this year, with prices starting at $23,999, and Avidyne is showing the unit’s features next week at its Heli-Expo booth (7727).
Like Atlas, the Helios hybrid touchscreen user interface allows for conventional multi-touch gestures or the use of buttons and knobs. Hybrid touch has long been a feature on Avidyne’s IFD series navcoms and it is “gaining traction with the rotorcraft crowd,” said Avidyne CEO Dan Schwinn. “It’s more focused on actions with the fewest number of button presses and not having to worry about missing a button on the screen. It’s a great selling point for this market.”
Helios adds many modern capabilities to legacy helicopters, including GPS navigation, Qwerty keyboard, full-color moving-map with high-resolution, three-arc second terrain basemap, and georeferenced Jeppesen terminal charts and airport/heliport diagrams. Further functionality can be added with optional 16-watt VHF navcom with ILS; helicopter TAWS; Avidyne GPS Legacy Avionics Support for compatibility with Collins Pro Line 21 and Honeywell Primus avionics to add coupled approach guidance and LPV approach capability; radar display; NVG compatibility; and RS-170 video input.
A new feature for Helios is a powerline database, and it can also display weather and traffic information, as well as be a control panel for remote-mounted transponders. Helios will work with Avidyne and most other ADS-B Out transponders.
Helios includes an exocentric synthetic vision system (SVS) display, which is appropriate for a console-mounted unit, where a panel-mounted display would be more suitable for egocentric SVS. Helios also includes forward-looking terrain alerting as standard. Flight planning is made easier with Avidyne’s GeoFill, which automatically fills in likely next waypoints, reducing the number of entries the pilot needs to make. Helios also offers built-in holds as well as circular holds for orbiting around a point, and these can be sized as needed to make a simple circular search-and-rescue pattern.
For operators of helicopters with limited panel space but with a console, Helios is designed as a replacement for existing Dzus-mounted FMS units and measures 7.5 inches tall by 5.75 inches wide and 10.615 inches deep. While the IFD series offers many of the same functions and are already installed in multiple helicopter types, they are too wide to fit in a typical console-mounted application, according to Schwinn. “To some extent this product [was requested] by several customers who liked our panel-mounts,” he said. “It’s tough to shoehorn the IFD in a console, it’s a half inch too wide and the mounting is wrong for IFDs.”
Helios comes with standard autopilot interfaces, including Arinc 429. A USB port in the face of the Helios unit facilitates quick database updates and doubles as a charging port for portable devices. Avidyne designed the USB port and the Helios display and front face so they are impervious to liquid spills. Helios includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and operators are welcome to design their own apps that take advantage of those using Avidyne’s software development kit.
Helios will meet the latest helicopter environmental and vibration test standards. Avidyne expects the first supplemental type certificate for Helios in rotorcraft in the second half of this year.