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2009 Editors’ Choice: Safety Enhancements

By Staff Writer | December 1, 2009
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BLR Aerospace Dual Tail Boom Strakes and FastFin

This kit, which includes fin and the strakes, is currently certified for the Bell 204, 205, 212, and UH-1 series of helicopters. Certification on the Bell 412 is expected in the second quarter of 2010, and improves tail rotor authority by improving the aerodynamics around the tail boom and tail fin surfaces. The patented FastFin System modifies the tailboom with two parallel stall strips (dual tailboom strakes) and a re-shaped vertical fin, “optimizing” airflow around the tailboom for improved handling. FastFin will also expand the lifting capacity of a helicopter, increase performance and enable greater stability in all flight regimes, including high and hot hover conditions, according to BLR. Strakes organize and control aircraft rotor wash, reducing the sideways lift on the left side of the tailboom. Strakes reduce the turbulence under the tailboom, reducing tail rotor pedal reversals by as much as 50 percent, says BLR. Weight for the mod kit is minimal. One experienced operator said recently, “If I were king, every helicopter would have this mod.”

BLR Aerospace, 1-425-353-6591,


Talon Survival Vest

The Talon Survival Vest was recommended by an experienced law enforcement pilot. The vest, weighing in at four pounds, was designed specifically for helicopter crews and has extraction points integrated into the design. This vest also has an optional over-water package of flotation and emergency air. It is constructed of breathable mesh and nylon, treated for fire retardancy and contains three cargo pockets. The Talon series includes three models suitable for many mission needs.

Transaero, 1-631- 752-1240,

NVAG-6 Aviator Night Vision System

Accident rates go up when the sun goes down. For this reason we have chosen to feature the FAA TSO’d NVAG-6 night vision system from Nivisys. This system consists of a lightweight binocular, which can be mounted to a variety of helmets using the mounting adapter. Simple to operate, the system is powered by a dual-battery-compartment power pack that provides the pilot with immediate reserve power. This power pack uses TSO-approved AA alkaline batteries. The NVAG-6 goggles are available with a range of image intensifier tube performance levels. For domestic use, the NVAG-6 is equipped with DO-275 specified Class B coatings on the objective lenses. The 27-mm eye-relief eyepieces provide high quality imagery and ensure that all aircrew members retain a full 40-degree field of view, even those who wear prescription corrective lenses, according to Nivisys.

Nivisys industries, 1-480-970-3222,

ITT Night Vision Goggles

There’s a reason ITT Corporation has been awarded a $72 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for its Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging Systems, night vision tubes and spare parts. With this award in October, ITT remains the sole supplier of aviation goggles and tubes to the U.S. Army. Each AN/AVS-6 goggle is outfitted with ITT’s proprietary Generation 3 Pinnacle tube, and auto-gated power supply that maintains the image resolution under varying light conditions. ITT’s Night Vision business is based in Roanoke, Va. and has delivered more than one million Gen 3 image intensification tubes. The Gen 3 Pinnacle tube has the ability to detect available light more than 10 times the power of previous generations, according to ITT.

ITT, 1-540-563-0371,

FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE Thermal Imaging

The Star SAFIRE HD, introduced earlier this year at the Paris Air Show, offers high-definition stabilized airborne thermal imaging. Configurable with up to seven payload options, the Star SAFIRE HD can meet the needs of military, government and law enforcement professionals. The product produces provides the clear, highly detailed imagery critical to law enforcement missions. Features include all-digital video, long-range detection & identification, stable imagery, eye-safe laser, rangefinder and more.

FLIR Systems, 1-503-498-3547,

Helicopter Mount Adapter for NVG

Helicopter’s Multi-Helmet NVG mount adapter was created to allow MSA Gallet Helmet users the ability to switch an NVG Mount between Gentex helicopter helmets and MSA Gallet Helmets without removing Gentex’s quick release pins. Users simply remove the NVG Mount from a Gentex helmet and attach to a MSA Gallet helmet using the same quick release system. Unit uses the same quick release system and pins as found on Gentex helmets. Made of carbon fiber and stainless steel. Mounts directly to MSA Gallet helmets equipped with MSA’s NVG hard visor cover. Lifetime warranty.

Helicopter, 1-843-556-0405,

Aircell ST 3100 Satellite Helicopter Telephone

A competitively priced satcom solution, the new Aircell ST 3100 telecommunication system is a compact, light-weight system. The system offers voice and data communication through the Iridium network of low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites, enabling users to make and receive with any telephone number in the world, on the ground or in the air. The ST 3100 also connects users with data. With built-in RS-232 support, an operator can make an Internet dial-up connection to access e-mail and the web. The ST 3100 has installation flexibility. Aircell offers a wide range of antenna and handset options such as corded and cordless choices. All handsets are available in black, beige, and gray.

AIRCELL, 1-303-301-3200,

Trakkabeam A800

The patent-pending Trakkabeam A800 employs a unique optical design and utilizes a Xenon lamp half the size of some traditional searchlights. It is lightweight, bright and cost effective. It delivers a more intense beam on the target due to the design of the optical elements in relation to the arc source. The company says this design is responsible for the elimination of the black hole seen at the center of vision of conventional searchlights. This model includes the industry’s only in-flight, multi-filter solution. Up to six different filters can be activated at the touch of a button from inside the cockpit. Filters can range from extremely covert IR to ultra-violet and the light has integral slaving for most thermal imaging, camera and moving map systems. Others can reduce the glare from fog or can enhance natural color in the target field.

Trakka Corp, 61-39-553-3000,

PowerFlare Safety Light

The PowerFlare Safety Light is a rugged signal and illumination device. About the size of a hockey puck, it can withstand being run over by large vehicles or dropped from aircraft, is waterproof to 80-foot depth—or deeper with a deep-dive option—and is intrinsically safe, according to the manufacturer. Nominal night visibility range is eight miles. The PowerFlare Safety Light makes chemlites (light sticks), flares and flash strobes obsolete. The current product has multiple built-in user-selectable flash patterns, multiple flash-strobe modes, rotate, SOS (USCG-approved), solid-on high-beam, and solid-on low-beam. PowerFlare Corp. can customize some features such as encoded flash patterns for identification purposes. Traditional flares contain perchlorate and other carcinogens but PowerFlare does not and has no risk of fire or explosion.

PowerFlare, 1-408-323-2370,

Hughes Offers PBN, RNAV, RNP and WAAS Consulting

Houston-based Hughes Aerospace Corporation offers performance based navigation (PBN) services involving RNAV/RNP and WAAS LPV procedure design. Hughes also assists its clients with PBN crew training, aircraft equipage and regulatory compliance. As part of the FAA’s NextGen roadmap, it is essential for operators to understand the impact of PBN. Helicopter operators can enjoy a much higher level of safety, reliability, and efficiency with PBN. Hughes is also the only authorized vendor of the Honeywell SmartPath ground based augmentation system, or GBAS. GBAS SmartPath is the only FAA-certified GBAS precision navigation system available today. GBAS is a cost effective solution for precision landings in areas outside of WAAS coverage. Hughes can provide concept drawings, site assessments, obstacle surveys and flight validations. They also provide other related services such as safety management system (SMS) programs. Hughes Aerospace Corp., 1-281-591-4729,

Sandel Avionics ST 3400H

This is a self-contained computer and high-resolution display unit for HTAWS. “It substitutes for the radar altimeter indicator that is installed in many helicopters. The unit provides radar altimeter functions as well as HTAWS,” according to Sandel. The ST3400H is night vision goggle compatible, but with a twist. “We have what w e call ‘on demand N-VIS’. You can toggle from daylight to NVG mode instantly. It’s 100-percent brightness in daylight mode and 100-percent Mil compliant in night vision mode. It’s not done with an add-on, it’s done internally so there’s no filter to get in the way in daylight mode,” according to Sandel.

Sandel ST3400H features:

Compact size for easy installation;

Available for Class A and Class B helicopter installations;

Displays terrain, obstacles, flight plan and traffic overlay;

Ultra-high resolution three (3) arcsecond terrain;

High brightness 3-ATI display engine;

Digital radar altitude display;

Alert/Warning Modes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Class A)

Sandel Avionics, 1-760-727-4900,

Honeywell’s EGPWS

Honeywell EGPWS is available in two models: the Class B Mark XXII and the Class A Mark XXII. The Mark XXI is the basic system for helicopters. It’s a Class B system and it’s very capable for most operators, according to Honeywell. The Mark XXII has a number of additional algorithms about how it annunciates warnings and bank angles. The standard Honeywell EGPWS system is an aural warning system and works independently of multi-function display units. If a customer wants a display, the Honeywell EGPWS works with Honeywell MFDs, as well as other manufacturers’ displays.
Mark XXI features:

Class B installations;

Worldwide terrain fatabase;

Look-ahead algorithms;

Multiple display interfaces;

Ultra-high resolution three (3) arcsecond terrain;

Terrain display; auto display pop up; auto range; en route terrain display; vertical situation display.

Mark XXII features:

Class A installations;

Same features as Mark XXI plus:

Alert/Warning Modes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Class A)

Honeywell, 1-800-601-3099,

Cobham Avionics’ HTAWS

Cobham Avionics’ HTAWS is available in both Class A and Class B. The Cobham Avionics HTAWS is not available as a stand-alone product. It is part of Cobham Avionics’ complete EFIS system for helicopters, which can be installed as a single multi-function display. “The benefit is that you are putting in a complete glass cockpit,” says Cobham. Each of their displays is a full-functioning TAWS unit. In a multi-screen system, if a display fails, all TAWS functions are performed by the remaining display with no degradation, according to the company.
Cobham HTAWS features:

Cobham Avionics is the only manufacturer to use Level A software;

Available for Class A and Class B helicopter installations;

Standard with synthetic vision and flight path marker displays;

Night vision goggle compatible;

Six (6) arcsecond terrain, seamless worldwide;

Alert/Warning Modes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Class A);

Certified for Part 27 and Part 29 helicopters;

Cobham Avionics is formerly Chelton Flight Systems.Cobham Avionics, 1-817-215-7600,
For more information on HTAWS, see “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about TAWS,” Rotor & Wing, November 2009, page 30.

2009 Editors' Choice: Training

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