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By Staff Writer | June 1, 2012

Search and Rescue

Archangel Systems Introduces AHRS & INS

To support cost-sensitive and space-constrained aviation applications, Archangel Systems, Inc. has developed two highly compact embeddable aviation sensor products scheduled for release in 2012. The AHR50, slated for second quarter 2012 release, is an enhanced AHRS (Attitude and Heading Reference System) in a 2.5” x 2.0” x 1.2” form factor. A micro DB9 connector provides two communication ports. A RS422 interface connects to a remote Magnetic Sensing Unit (MSU) for heading data. The second, an RS232 bidirectional port, provides the AHRS output and “enhancement” features. Enhancement: Via the RS232 port, the customer may input either air data or GPS words for blending with IMU data. With air data inputs, the AHR50 is effectively an ADAHRS. With GPS position, velocity and time data (PVT) the AHR50 becomes a loosely coupled INS/GPS system. The latter scenario is ideal for aircraft that already have GPS and the installer chooses not to duplicate that hardware and cost for INS functionality. For installations without GPS, Archangel will offer the INS50 in third quarter 2012. By augmenting the AHR50 with an integrated C/A code GPS, the INS50 is a standalone INS/GPS product.  Note that the INS50 shares the AHR50 form factor, MSU interface and capability to accept input air data messages. Both products contain the same DO-178B Level A software and inertial sensor head as Archangel’s flagship AHR150A ADAHRS.  But size, weight and power budgets are lower:  6 cubic inches, 75 grams and 3.5 Watts for the AHR50, 5 cubic inches and 95 grams and 4.2 Watts for the INS50. To support our customers’ design efforts, Archangel provides interface documents, software libraries and procedures for both normal operation and for MSU field calibration modes. Archangel design teams are available to support OEM, STC and upgrade programs. Contact Archangel Systems at or (334) 826-8008 x14. 

Direction Finding SAR from Techtest

Techtest has introduced a new DF system designed to reduce the time to locate emergency locator beacons. It is compatible with both 121.5MHz swept tone distress beacons and 406MHz COSPAS-SARSAT transmissions on current and future frequencies. The user is able to monitor four frequencies and detect emergency transmissions. Each transmission is allocated a unique identification which can then be selected for more detailed information. For 121.5MHz the system can display relative bearing details. For 406MHz the system will provide all the same information as 121.5MHz but in addition will record and decode the COSPAS-SARSAT message, giving details of the distress beacon and if available the GPS beacon location. Using digital processing and advanced beam forming techniques, the system is able to discriminate between multiple transmitters and direction find on the signals. All the data is processed using intelligent algorithms to reduce system noise and spurious responses. For more information, visit

Programmable Location & Identification Beacons

FEC Heliports has added a new range of innovative Programmable Location and Identification Beacons to its range of heliport lighting equipment. These medium intensity beacons, which are available as three or single color units, use high brightness LEDs and advanced micro-electronics to provide a range of pre-programmed and user field-selectable operating modes. The beacons can be programmed without any special knowledge, skills or tools, by means of on-board switches either before or after installation. Additional on-board switches enable different maximum light output levels to be set and control which quadrants of each light are active. These new beacons are housed in FEC’s existing, field-proven range of robust cast aluminium and glass housings, providing simple installation and upgrade.  Depending on beacon type, the modes which may be selected include: FAA L-802H Civil Helipad Beacon—36 flashes per minute [FPM], 75ms pulse width; FAA L-802M Military Helipad Beacon—17.3 FPM, 100ms pulse width; 2 Location beacon modes; Modified ICAO pattern (short [2mS] and long [ 25mS]  pulse)—30 FPM; 25 FPM UK CAA and Transport Canada timing compliant; 2 Morse beacon modes: 4-6 WPM (words per minute); 1, 2 and 3 character code options  (defined at time of ordering); and Rotating (simulated) and flashing beacon modes. For installations requiring light shielding to prevent pilot glare or distraction, arrays are individually selectable enabling any combination of 90-degree quadrants to be enabled or disabled. The beacons are powered from a 48-volt DC source making them safe to install and operate and suitable for powering from a suitable 110/240V AC power supply or batteries. With an optional interface kit, users can set their own Morse Code identification strings/rates, test the LEDs, access key system and operational data and program their own PIN access control codes via a Windows PC. A wireless version is also available enabling remote monitoring of beacons at distances up to 1km. Find out more about FEC at or, or e-mail Fraser Mackay at, phone +44 1494 775226.

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