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Avionics solutions enhance situational awareness for helicopter pilots

Recent events and incidents have resulted in additional attention to helicopter safety including the NTSB asking manufacturers to require flight data recorders for their turbine helicopters this past June. L3Harris has provided a variety of avionics solutions for commercial and military helicopters for more than 60 years, including flight data recorders, as well as standby displays, ADS-B and TCAS. “As the helicopter market grows and airspace becomes more congested, it is vital we continue to develop products and services that create safer skies for the future,” Crawford commented.

Several helicopter manufacturers have selected the EFD-750 and ESI-500 standby displays because they are reliable, and offer a variety of pilot-configurable options. Both provide high-resolution active matrix liquid crystal displays with standard solid-state sensors for attitude, airspeed and altitude that will give the operator the necessary information to maintain their course and safely arrive at their destination in the event the integrated cockpit fails. The ESI-500 also provides operators an optional 3D synthetic vision display that highlights topography and hazards.

The Lynx multimode transponder is becoming popular with manufacturers who want to offer the optional TCAS I configuration in addition to ADS-B for helicopter operators. Global producers using Lynx are including TCAS I standard on their helicopter platforms. Additionally, Lynx has always been popular with pilots and frequently praised about the rich feature and ease of use.

“[It’s an] amazing unit,” Steve Gustafson of the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team said at EAA AirVenture last year. “You can’t put a price on great equipment, and the Lynx is affordable.” One of the key features Gustafson liked was the ADS-B In feature, which helped him feel safe and comfortable with all the planes flying in and out of the show.

Besides ADS-B Out compliance, the Lynx also offers optional and standard features including ATAS (ADS-B Traffic Advisory System), Active Traffic, and free weather and traffic from the FAA. The full-color split touchscreen allows pilots to see ADS-B traffic on the left and then weather, terrain, and active traffic on the right side. With a simple swipe of the finger, pilots can easily scroll through a variety of displays, including FIS-B weather and TIS-B traffic in real time. A distinguishing feature helicopter pilots like is the Lynx TerrainVision application, which displays and color-codes surrounding topography and land-based obstacles to provide enhanced situational awareness. Additionally, the Lynx offers an optional ATAS add-on, which provides aural alerting and announces the range, bearing, and relative altitude of nearby traffic through the cockpit audio system—including airport pattern traffic below 500 feet agl.

L3Harris also offers a variety of flight data recorders that meet the NTSB and EASA recommendations for helicopters. The Lightweight Data Recorder (LDR) provides operators with optional video capture and a built-in web service to retrieve the data. Operators can subscribe to the Flight Data Connect program, which provides versatile flight data analysis for FDM/FOQA. Users can upload the flight data to their secure program and within minutes the flight information, details of maintenance exceedances, graphs, and visualizations all are available.

L3Harris has partnered with Truth Data Insights, a leading HFDM/FOQA analytics provider. Truth Data deploys a scalable flight data analysis platform and benchmarking capabilities specifically for helicopter operators to better identify safety issues and to reduce operator risks.

Together, these products provide increased safety and efficiency for helicopter operators. More information is available online.

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