Rockwell Collins has introduced a new avionics product line, dubbed HeliSure, in a bid to improve situational awareness for helicopter pilots. While some of the products are already known, such as helicopter synthetic vision system (H-SVS) and helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (H-TAWS), others are in an early development phase. New sensors should thus enhance obstacle detection.
“We want to provide crews with a better vision of their environment, especially in poor weather,” marketing director Philippe Memery told Rotor & Wing. AgustaWestland has selected Rockwell Collins’ H-SVS and H-TAWS for the AW149, AW189, AW169 and AW101 (the former three aircraft are in development). These products feature 3D visualization. Resolution is three-arc second, meaning altitude is measured precisely every 300 feet on the surface.
These systems are significant improvements to helicopter safety; however, they use imperfect obstacle databases, as Memery emphasized. “They don’t cover the entire planet and are not exhaustive – for example, they lack a lot of secondary power lines,” he explained. Sometimes, a hazard’s location may even be inaccurate. Hence the idea of further improving obstacle detection with on-board sensors.
The first sensor in development is a small radar for short distances. It is being designed to avoid rotor strikes at landing or takeoff. EMS operators will find it useful to avoid trees and small buildings in low visibility. The second sensor, also a radar, is rather optimized for medium distances. It will be able to “see” secondary power lines, bridges etc.
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