2012 Year in Review: Products

By Staff Writer | December 1, 2012

2012 turned out to be a far more interesting year than many of us expected it to be in terms of new products and new uses or iterations of existing products. This article began with a simple concept—to provide an overview of all the products and services that industry vendors believed in strongly enough to showcase on the Hot Products pages for you during the past year. After all, the surveys always tell us that keeping up with new products and new technologies are the primary reasons you read this publication. But as we searched the archives and back issues, we kept running across other products and announcements that would have seemed wrong to ignore. The Hot Products pages are just not the place you are going to find an announcement about a new aircraft being rolled-out to market. What the Hot Products pages have instead become are a very effective way for vendors to highlight and showcase some of the less sexy products and services that are nevertheless key components, and integral to running a successful helicopter operation. So while the articles on the following pages are by no means intended to be a comprehensive account or even a rating of the most important announcements of the year, these stories do represent an overview of a few of the shiny things that caught our eye in 2012, as well as those which industry vendors believe would be of significant value to you.


Bell 525 Relentless, Eurocopter EC130T2 Debut at Heli-Expo

Two dramatic launches—mood music, helicopters behind screens and clever audio visual presentations—accompanied the launches of the Bell 525 Relentless super medium transport (SMT) and the Eurocopter EC130T2. While you can find the full specifications elsewhere in this news section, Bell President & CEO John Garrison told a packed audience that this was “Bell on a mission to revitalize our commercial business.” A new five-bladed, 10-ton helicopter, the Bell 525 Relentless has been launched with the corner just having been turned from the bad times of the last few years.


The crowd then moved from one end of Heli-Expo to the other to see Eurocopter’s launch. The curtain pulled back the wraps on the EC130T2, a Turbomeca Arriel D2-powered single engine helicopter. Its improvements were said to include 10 knots higher cruise speed, 2 percent less fuel consumption, better hot and high performance and a higher sling load of 30 percent. Six out of seven new customers lined up to support Eurocopter by saying the company had delivered what they had asked for in this type of machine—among them Maverick, Papillon, Enloe (an EMS provider) and Blue Hawaiian. Read the full story at

AgustaWestland Shows Off AW189

AgustaWestland came to Heli-Expo 2012 fresh off the recent first flight of its prototype AW189. AgustaWestland officially uncovered the AW189 program at the 2011 Paris Air Show in response to an increasing demand for a versatile, multi-role helicopter. The prototype took its maiden flight on December 21. Powered by a pair of General Electric CT7-2E1s and equipped with FADEC and built-in particle separators, the 19-passenger AW189 is designed for long-range, offshore transport and SAR applications. Bristow Helicopters, Bel Air and Weststar Aviation Services are among the operators that have placed orders for the AW189.

To help minimize pilot workload and improve safety during VFR/IFR, day/night, all-weather operations, the AW189 will feature a Rockwell Collins digital glass cockpit designed around four 8 x 10-inch liquid crystal displays with synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems. The avionics suite also includes a four-axis dual-duplex digital automatic flight control system and dual flight management system (FMS). According to AgustaWestland, certification is still on track for 2013, with deliveries expected to start in 2014.

MD Helicopters Uncovers ‘Lethal’ 540F

After 15 years without unveiling a new rotorcraft, it only took around three months for MD Helicopters to pull together its latest offering—the 540F. An upgrade to the 530F, the new model will feature a Rolls-Royce engine, avionics from Elbit Systems and a six-blade rotor system. The company plans to enter the 540F into the U.S. Army’s Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) competition, in addition to getting interest from international operators through the DoD’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

“This is really development at Mach speed,” said CEO Lynn Tilton. “Three months ago, we went over to team up with Elbit Systems on flight display systems and new weapons systems. Together in three months, we were able to bring this new aircraft to life.” Tilton added that certification will occur in the first quarter of 2013. The MD540F represents the first new aircraft the Mesa, Ariz.-based company has launched since Patriarch Partners purchased MD in July 2005. Tilton described the 540F as a “lethal fighting machine.”

Read the full story at


The List of Helicopters Certified with G500H Continues to Grow

(From Hot Products) Providing an integrated “glass cockpit” solution for both retrofit and new production installations, Garmin’s G500H electronic flight display system has now received supplemental type certification (STC) on a number of today’s most popular helicopters. The list includes the Bell 206 and 407 series; Eurocopter’s AS350 and EC130; and the Robinson Helicopter R44. Available through Garmin Authorized Service Centers industry-wide, the G500H system combines full WAAS GPS navigation with the latest in situational awareness. Dual 6.5-inch LCD screens, mounted side-by-side in a single bezel, allow primary flight display (PFD) and multifunction display (MFD) capabilities to be positioned right in front of the pilot for easy scanning and interpretation. The PFD shows attitude, airspeed, climb rate, altitude and course/heading information—while the MFD provides highly detailed moving-map graphics depicting the helicopter’s current position in relation to ground features, chart data, flight plan routings, and more. Optional Garmin HSVT synthetic vision capability adds a 3-D virtual perspective view of terrain, traffic, airports and obstacles to the pilot’s PFD. And on each of the displays, large numbers and graphics make the data even easier to read and interpret at a glance. Proven AHRS attitude/heading reference replaces old-style, maintenance-intensive mechanical gyros for greater precision and reliability. Plus, a helicopter-specific database, included with the G500H, features more than 7,000 heliports and nearly 30,000 additional low-altitude obstacles in addition to the already extensive database found in Garmin’s fixed-wing G500 system. For more information, see your nearby Garmin authorized dealer or check the company website.

Universal Debuts EFI-890H Helicopter Display

Universal Avionics of Tucson, Ariz., has uncovered the EFI-890H, a helicopter flat panel display based on the company’s EFI -890R. The display will include a collective cue and X-video night vision imaging system (NVIS}. Universal is seeking approval for a number of helicopter types, including the Bell 212 / 412 and Eurocopter EC155/ AS332, and the Sikorsky S-76 and S-61.

Becker Introduces AR6204 Transceiver, BXP6404 Transponder

During a Feb. 13 press conference at the company’s Heli-Expo booth, Becker Avionics President Markus Schmitz uncovered two new avionics units—the AR6204 VHF transceiver and the BX6404 Mode S transponder. “The AR6204 is a single-box-mounted VHF transceiver which provides 8.33 or 25-kHz spacing,” Schmitz explained. “It has an integrated digital intercommunications system and also provides a dual-channel watch function.” The radio incorporates automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology “and provides 10-watt output at 24 volts,” he said, adding that the AR6204 features a simple design for retrofit installations. Schmitz went on to unveil the BXP6404, describing it as “the only dismount Mode S transponder with ADS-B Out capabilities on the market.” The unit will be available for Class 1 and Class 2 performance and will work with most major encoders in addition to Becker’s encoder, which attaches directly to the BXP6404, according to Schmitz. Read the full story at

Archangel Systems Introduces AHRS & INS

(From Hot Products) 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. Archangel design teams are available to support OEM, STC and upgrade programs. Contact Archangel Systems at or 1-334-826-8008 x14.

Sandel HeliTAWS Chosen for Sikorsky S-70i

Sikorsky Aircraft has contracted Vista, Calif.-based Sandel Avionics to supply a Mil-Std version of the HeliTAWS wire and terrain alerting system for the S-70i, the international version of the Black Hawk. The ST3453H will include Sandel’s WireWatch and TruAlert functions allowing pilots to take off, cruise, hover and land at off-airport locations without encountering nuisance alerts, while still being able to receive Class-A terrain and obstacle warnings during the flight.

Becker Delivers 1,000th DVCS

(From Hot Products) Becker Avionics is a privately owned hi-tech avionics company. For more than 50 years, Becker has been an industry pioneer, manufacturing affordable, sophisticated digital intercom systems, communication & navigation radios, transponders, personal locator beacons and air traffic control radios. Becker is recognized by savvy customers for their leading-edge design and quality products made for a variety of market segments including general aviation and rotorcraft (air medical services & airborne law enforcement), along with special mission and military customers. Becker’s flagship product is the highly successful Digital Voice Communication System (DVCS). The DVCS was the first commercially certified digital intercom system in the marketplace (ETSO & TSO’d). This current generation DVCS6100 has incorporated a variety of unique and popular ‘customer-centric’ features. Recently, Becker reached a significant milestone by delivering its 1,000th DVCS since introducing its Digital Audio System family. For more information, contact Brett Gardner, Director of Sales, at or visit


WebSentinel iOS App Gets an Upgrade

Latitude Technologies Corporation has released an upgrade for its Latitude WebSentinel iOS App. Now registered users of the SkyNode Satcom product can use their WebSentinel account to view live flight tracking data, modify reporting parameters and send two-way text messages. Flight data from previous flights are also available.

High Frequency Demands Higher Quality 50 ohm MicroMATES Assemblies

(From Hot Products) MicroMATES from PIC Wire & Cable are engineered to advance microwave coaxial cable technology and serve Ku and X Band frequencies. Manufactured with minimum 200° C rating on all materials plus Inner Flat Braid or Strip Braid, High Temp Polyimide Foil, Dual Braided Shields and Silver Plated Copper throughout. Military/Defense Applications include SatCom, MUMT, and Command and Control. Two-week lead time on many assemblies. In addition to MicroMATES, the PICMATES Line of Interconnect Solutions for the Civil, Military and Parapublic/First Responder Helicopter Sectors also includes RF MATES, VideoMATES, and DataMATES. Take flight with over 40 years of proven success in recognized aerospace programs worldwide. At Pic Wire & Cable, we aim to: Improve Platform & System Performance; Lower Total Costs; and Reduce Development & Manufacturing Schedules. For all your advanced electronic applications, there’s only one PIC. For more information call 1-800-742-3191 or visit the company on the web.


CTI Opens Whirl Tower

Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary Composite Technology Inc. (CTI) invited local officials to its Dallas-Fort Worth rotor blade repair facility on February 14 for the opening of its new whirl tower. The $15-million “rig” and control room are diagnostic tools used to conduct controlled tests of rotor blades under simulated operational conditions. When damaged or repaired blades need to be tested, CTI technicians can mount them on the whirl tower’s high-tech rotor hub, along with a master that is known to be completely flawless. The tower then rotates the blades while sophisticated lasers identify the changes required to make the test blades match the master blade.

HEATCON Provides Positive Pressure Repairs

(From Hot Products) A large number of composite repairs can be accomplished by a Hot Bonder, utilizing vacuum pressure for material compaction. However, there are many instances for which the Structural Repair Manual (SRM) stipulates that a positive pressure, typically up to 50 psi, must be used, as that created by vacuum alone is insufficient for carrying out large area repairs on major components. In such instances, up until recently the only alternative to utilizing an Autoclave was to combine vacuum with a ‘Dead Weight’, such as sandbags, in order to achieve the equivalent of the required positive pressure. As it is difficult to achieve pressure uniformity over the repair area, plus the fact that sandbags act as a huge ‘heat sink’, most repair stations without an Autoclave would either decline the job, or subcontract the repair to a facility with one. Our patented HCS3100 (Series) Portable Autoclaves are custom built semi-portable pressure vessels. They are designed to provide controlled temperature, vacuum, and pressure during composite and metal bond repair processes. The positive internal pressure applied to the repair enables operators to achieve the higher pressure when required by aircraft manufacturer repair manuals. Heat is applied only where required using specially constructed silicone rubber heat blankets. This method results in reduced operational costs and fewer problems due to temperature induced part damage. For more information, visit

PAA Offers Extended Life Starter Generator Program

(From Hot Products) Professional Aviation Associates’ Helicopter Starter Program for starter generators offers a custom designed inspection process to track brush wear. These custom solutions may extend the life of your starter generators, increase reliability, and reduce unscheduled removals and operating expenses. Our alliance partner A.O.G starter/generator overhaul facility is well maintained to provide consistent and quality service. Ultrasonic cleaners are used on all armatures and stators to eliminate carbon shorting. This ensures a more dependable operation and a longer life for the armature and stator. Two high-speed generator stands are available to test the operation of the unit after it has been serviced. Our reputation was built upon providing a high level of quality along with competitive pricing. For more information in the U.S. and Canada, please call 1-800-283-2015 or visit us at

3M Gel Tape Helps Protect Against Corrosion

St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Aerospace has introduced its 3M Removable Gel Tape, which is designed to help protect substrate corrosion in helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The tape is available in one-sided and two-sided versions. According to 3M, the Gel Tape is easily removable and does not pill or ball, leaving behind little or no residue. Other features include easy cutting, low roll unwind tension and simple application. The tape meets FAA 14CFR 25.853 standards.

Optically Superior Windows from Tech-Tool Plastics

(From Hot Products) With a full line of windows available for your MD500 series helicopter, Tech-Tool Plastics offers the finest in replacement and custom windows for your aircraft. Cabin Comfort Windows, provided exclusively by Tech-Tool, are available in clear or tinted, Smoke Gray or Dark Gray options. These wedge-shaped windows allow for more shoulder and elbow room for passengers and give pilots more freedom to maneuver. In addition, their clear-view design improves visibility and provides a custom appearance. Quick Change Windows are another option for those interested in reduced installation time and replacement costs. These are available for all door windows and chin bubbles. They fit better, eliminate rivets and eliminate the need to repaint. Years of experience and a strong focus on innovation have allowed Tech-Tool Plastics to become the leader in replacement and custom windows for rotorcraft. Ensuring durability, ease of installation and an unwavering focus on quality—Tech-Tool customers experience immediate service with little or no down time. Contact Tech-Tool Plastics at 1-800-433-2210 or visit the company on the web at

Tech-Tool Windows for AS350/355s

(From Hot Products) Thanks to Tech-Tool Plastics Cabin Comfort windows, Eurocopter AS350 AStar and AS355 TwinStar operators can enjoy clear views essential for safe flying. Tech-Tool’s wedge-style Cabin Comfort windows provide increased crew and passenger shoulder and elbow room throughout the AStar’s cabin. In addition to added visibility and comfort, Tech-Tool’s Cabin Comfort windows add a customized appearance at an affordable price. Windows are available in standard clear or custom gray tinted acrylic. Vibration-free slide camera windows are available for aerial photography. The company fills most orders within 24 hours. Tech-Tool offers standard and customized windows for the most popular models from Bell, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters, Robinson and Schweizer. Tech-Tool Plastics has manufactured and supported helicopter replacement windows for nearly 50 years. Tech-Tool’s affordable, high-quality windows are FAA, EASA, ANAC and Transport Canada approved. They meet or exceed OEM standards, are easy to install, and fit every time. For more information, please visit


DAC International’s Bell 212/412 Solution for Tarsyn

(From Hot Products) If you have issues with your Tarsyn gyro installation, consider replac¬ing the Tarsyn gyros with the proven Northrop Grumman Litef LCR100 fiber optics AHRS. Installation consists of removal of the existing rate gyro, replacement of the Tarsyn VG/DGs with two AHRS and trays, which mount into the existing Tarsyn position and wiring an additional panel annunciator. Advantages of replacing the Bell 212/412 mechanical gyros with the dual LCR-100 AHRS include Fiber Optic Attitude Heading Reference System—no moving parts; a long MTBF (mean time before failure) equals reduced maintenance and cost; the LCR100 has increased accuracy and less weight than the gyros it replaces; simplified one-time flux valve calibration—no compass rose required and it comes with a two-year warranty. The installation is simple with a kit that includes two Tarsyn adapter trays, one rate gyro jumper/annunciator harness, one panel annunciator and a flight manual supplement. Downtime for installation is minimal. Give DAC International a call today at 1-512-331-5323 to discuss replacing or upgrading your Bell 212/412. Or for more information connect with us at

Aero Dynamix Provides Garmin Avionics Products and Repairs

(From Hot Products) Aero Dynamix, Inc. (ADI) is the industry leader and principle innovator of integrated Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) solutions for both commercial and military aircraft. ADI is a full-line distributor and certified repair station for Garmin avionics, and offers internal NVG instrument modifications for Garmin products that do not compromise on the Garmin factory warranty. Featured here are the Garmin GTN 650 and GTN 750. The GTN family combines GPS, COM and NAV functions with powerful multifunction display capabilities like high-resolution terrain mapping, graphical flight planning, satellite weather, traffic display and much more. The GTN 750 offers a 6.9-inch diagonal high-resolution display. Contact Aero Dynamix today at for more information or to request a quote. Let Aero Dynamix be your one-stop-shop for Night Vision solutions. For more information, visit

Aspen Avionics and NVG Modifications from Aero Dynamix

(From Hot Products) Aero Dynamix, Inc. is an industry leader and principle innovator of integrated Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) solutions for commercial and military aircraft. ADI is a full line dis¬tributor and certified repair station for Aspen Avionics and offers internal NVG instrument modifications for Aspen products that do not compromise on the Aspen factory warranty. Featured here is the Evolution 1500H Package, which combines the powerful, award-winning Pro PFD 1000H with the versatile MFD 500H to deliver a full-featured, exceptionally easy-to-use glass panel. The Pro PFD 1000H provides professional-grade EFIS primary flight instruments, with a full-featured electronic HSI with moving map. The MFD 500H adds photo-quality moving maps, terrain awareness, geo-referenced charts and airport diagrams, and (with optional or existing sensors) traffic displays, WX500 Stormscope display, and the full suite of XM WX aviation weather products. Contact Aero Dynamix today at for more information or to request a quote. For more information, visit the company’s website at


Solar-Powered Heliport Lighting System Supports Night Landing and Lift-Off

(From Hot Products) Avlite Systems solar-powered heliport lighting for emergency, temporary or permanent helipads and helidecks offers helicopter crews a safer place to lift-off and land during night flights or in low-visibility conditions. Meeting ICAO’s Annex 14 and CAP437 Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas recommendations, this world-first, solar-powered heliport lighting system is self-contained and easy to install. The radio-controlled solar heliport perimeter lights give over 50 hours of continuous operation at both CAP437 and ICAO Annex 14 Touchdown Lift-Off perimeter light intensities and come ready for operation straight from the box supplied with the frangible mount assembly. The solar flood light (also radio-controlled) provides uniform surface lighting across width of the helipad while the optic’s ‘hood’ prevents potential glare to pilots upon approach. Just one of Avlite’s radio controllers can control multiple solar Avlite fixtures including; heliport beacons, taxiway lights, obstruction lights, lighted windsock and other products. The radio controller supports several operational modes including 3-step intensity adjustment and switching the system between visual and IR. The solar Pilot Activated Lighting Control (PALC) can also be integrated with the system for remote operation of an unmanned heliport. Visit the company on the web at


CORRIDOR Aviation Maintenance Software

(From Hot Products) CORRIDOR is industry-proven software developed to streamline the aviation maintenance process. Created by aviation professionals more than 15 years ago, CORRIDOR continues to improve efficiency, reduce errors, increase control and visibility, reduce costs, and elevate customer service levels for rotor and fixed-wing service providers. CORRIDOR handles all functions in real time. CORRIDOR’s modular design allows each organization to tailor the application to their specific needs. Modules include those for Inventory Control, Procurement & Logistics, Maintenance & Shop Management, Part Sales & Retail Distribution, Customer & Vendor Management, Aircraft Maintenance Record Keeping, Accounting Integration, and more. CORRIDOR is backed by an experienced in-house staff to support each business throughout training and implementation and continued user support. Contact us today for more information or to request a demo, call 1-512-918-8900 or visit

Sikorsky Aerospace Services Launches Helotrac 2X

Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) has unveiled a new software system for Sikorsky’s commercial helicopters, Helotrac 2X. The new web-based software is an upgrade of Helotrac RL and allows operators to access compliance information and links to OEM bulletins, FAA airworthiness directives and maintenance tracking records. Monitoring and maintenance reports, including projections, history and archives, are part of Helotrac 2X, along with the ability to interface directly with interactive electronic technical manuals (IETMs). The software is available for the S-70i, S-76, S-92 and S-434, as well as other helicopter types and fixed-wing aircraft.


Professional Aviation Associates Offers a Global Reach

(From Hot Products) Professional Aviation Associates, located in Atlanta, Ga., operates a 30,000-square-foot warehouse just minutes away from Hartsfield International Airport, with sales support staff in Greer, S.C. and London, England. “We are excited to extend our support offering of the EC155 fleet in addition to our Eurocopter support program for AS350/AS355,” said Professional Aviation Associates President Glenn MacDonald. “Our sales force spans the United States, Spain, Latin America, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is a continuation of our goal to grow this part of the business and become the largest inde¬pendent global supplier of parts for the rotor wing market.” For more information in the U.S. and Canada, call 1-800-283-2015 or visit


Direction Finding SAR from Techtest

(From Hot Products) 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 trans¬mitters 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


Air Comm: Superior Choice for the AS350

(From Hot Products) Offering high-performance and an easy-to-install system, the Air Comm Eurocopter AS350 Air Conditioner provides dedicated cockpit and cabin cooling in a lightweight design. The condenser features a direct flow air path and only one 6” diameter circular baggage door cutout. This simplifies installation and does not detract from the aesthetics of the aircraft. Customers can also take advantage of Air Comm’s unmatched customer support, featuring five full-time customer support representatives, online technical manuals, and 24/7 phone support. Backed by exceptional engineering and technical capabilities, Air Comm Corporation designs, manufactures and supports more than 20 heating and air conditioning systems for a range of helicopters, including AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter, MD and Sikorsky.

Elbit All-in-Small Offers Helicopter Self-Protection System

Elbit Systems EW and SIGINT-Elisra is offering its All-in-Small united self-protection system for both rotary and fixed-wing applications. The electronic warfare suite includes advanced multi-spectral DAS and ESM capabilities in a single line replace¬able unit (LRU). The lightweight system has a modular design and open architecture for multiple interfaces. The All-in-Small is made up of an EW controller, digital radar warning receiver, IR missile warning system, advanced laser warning system and chaff/flare dispensing system.

L-3 Wescam Introduces MX-10D, MX-Sim

Burlington, Ontario-based L-3 Wescam has launched its MX-10D electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imaging and designating turret for helicopters, tactical UAVs and fixed-wing platforms. The Canadian division of New York City-based L-3 Communications unveiled the turret at the Farnborough International Airshow. L-3 Wescam has also introduced a simulator that will allow operators to train with its MX Series of EO/IR turrets. Designed with German company INSYEN AG, the MX-Sim connects to multiple L-3 Wescam standard control systems to provide various pre-planned scenarios in various weather conditions.


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