Air Evac Lifeteam has selected a completely integrated Garmin avionics suite for its fleet of Bell 206 and Bell 407 helicopters, said Garmin International Inc. This Night Vision Goggle (NVG)-compatible upgrade consists of the G500H glass flight display, GTNTM 650 touchscreen GPS/NAV/COMM and GTR 225 COMM radio, as well as the GDL 88 ADS-B datalink and GRA 55 radar altimeter. Optimized for rotorcraft, this avionics suite offers features that reduce pilot workload and assure fleet commonality. Additionally, these avionics fulfill Part 135 radar altimeter and Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) equipage requirements set forth by the FAA, as well as Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) initiatives. The Garmin Pilot app completes this comprehensive suite by offering unique helicopter-tailored features so operators are equipped with the latest capabilities.
The G500H is a dual-screen electronic flight display system designed specifically for the VFR helicopter market. The primary flight display (PFD) and multi-function display (MFD) within the G500H displays position, altitude and speed directly in the pilot’s field of view. The GTN 650 touchscreen GPS/NAV/COM is integrated with the G500H to provide operators with state-of-the-art navigation capabilities. Crew workload is reduced with the GTR 225 COM radio, which incorporates frequency lookup and reverse lookup functions via an internal database on a large, sunlight-readable LCD display.
State-of-the-art HTAWS technology continuously works to monitor surrounding terrain and obstacles. Operators are provided with visual and aural alerts of potential terrain and obstacle conflicts, which are available within the GTN touchscreen navigator and on the PFD of the G500H. Garmin HTAWS incorporates a five-color terrain scale (red, orange, yellow, green and black) and provides pilot-selectable voice callouts when descending from 500 to 100 ft agl. Furthermore, Garmin’s HTAWS offers Reduced Protection (RP) mode that allows low-level operations with minimal alerting, while continuing to provide terrain and obstacle protection. In addition to HTAWS, optional WireAwareTM wire-strike avoidance technology overlays comprehensive power line location and altitude information on the moving map so they’re easier to identify relative to the flight path of the helicopter.
Helicopter Air Ambulance requirements are easily met with Garmin’s high-performance and cost-effective GRA 55 radar altimeter, which conveniently displays altitudes on the PFD of the G500H. Leveraging patented digital signal processing, this technology incorporates built-in self-test monitors that continuously cross-check system and data integrity, assuring the pilot of an accurate height above ground measurement. In addition to one hundred foot callouts, the GRA 55 offers an additional 50-ft callout when paired with HTAWS.
The dual-link GDL 88 ADS-B datalink provides helicopter operators with a solution to meet ADS-B airspace requirements. For added awareness, traffic information received by the GDL 88 is conveniently displayed on the G500H and GTN 650, which also features audible traffic callouts. Additionally, the GDL 88 receives FAA subscription-free Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B) weather, displaying graphical NEXRAD radar information, NOTAMs, METARs, TAFs, TFRs and more on the G500H and GTN 650.
The Garmin Pilot app leverages unique helicopter-tailored features, which help Helicopter Air Ambulance operators meet rules recently established by the FAA. When entering a departure and destination pair, Garmin Pilot easily identifies the highest obstacle along the route of flight in mean sea level (MSL) and agl. These obstacles are easily identified on the flight plan page, as well as the moving map page. Additionally, Garmin Pilot provides these operators with convenient access to IFR and VFR Helicopter Route Charts throughout eight major metropolitan areas within the United States.