Nothing is more essential to aircraft operations than completing the mission safely. In an airliner’s world, air traffic controllers maintain separation of airplanes from each other and from some obstacles. But down in the obstacle-rich environment of the helicopter, where air traffic control assistance is absent more often than present, the rotorcraft pilot needs to “see and avoid” trouble on his own.
The human eye is the primary tool used by aviators to avoid colliding with other things, but eyesight has obvious limitation in areas of darkness and reduced visibility. Even sun-soaked terrain can camouflage power lines, towers and other aircraft just long enough to cause a tragedy.
Enter the collision avoidance systems (CAS). CAS can be fitted to any helicopter on today’s market, and come with a variety of features. There are systems that will give a general aural warning if a helicopter comes near power lines, while others will provide the pilot with a digital image of every individual hazard along its route. Other systems are designed to pinpoint an aircraft’s position, as well as give real-time information on the identity and location of other aircraft in the vicinity. The following products are examples of some of those essential technologies.
Universal Access Transceivers
The NXT-800 and NXT-600 Mode S transponders from ACSS are full-feature systems that are DO-260B and DO-181E compliant to meet the global Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) mandates for aircraft that are required to have ADS-B Out capability. The NXTs transmit ADS-B Out data from the aircraft to other nearby aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC). The higher level of ADS-B Out (DO-260B) transmission includes precise flight data, including position, speed and intent of the aircraft. The NXT transponders are optimized for flight in the next generation air traffic environment, and they help reduce flight times and fuel consumption, while increasing airspace capacity, and higher quality air traffic surveillance resulting in improved air safety. The NXTs are form factor replacements to the XS-950 Air Transport Data Link (ATDL) transponder and the RCZ-852 for business jets, regionals and helicopters. For more information, visit www.acss.com
FreeFlight Systems was the first to offer a universal access transceiver (UAT) ADS-B datalink for helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. Its RANGR family of receivers, transmitters and transceivers are among the most flexible and affordable suite of ADS-B Solutions for airplanes and helicopters. FreeFlight Systems created the first certified ‘UAT’ ADS-B Out solution for helicopters operating in the Gulf of Mexico and is obtaining STCs for the most popular make of light general aviation airplanes. The RANGR products are designed to integrate seamlessly with all FreeFlight Systems GPS/WAAS systems for high-integrity position reporting. Freeflight Systems offers the following three solutions of RANGR 978 Products, all displayable with an iPad, multifunction display (MFD): FDL-978-TX Transmitter only “out;” FDL-978-XVR Transceiver “in and out;” FDL-978-RX Receiver only “in.” Visit www.freeflightssytems.com
Trig Avionics makes Mode S certified transponders for GA aircraft, ideal for limited-space instrument panels. Trig offers three 1090 ES ADS-B Out models: the TT21 Class 2 for light aviation; the TT22 Class 1 for high-performance aircraft; and the TT33 Class 1 for retrofitting the KT76A and KT78A transponders. The TT21 and TT22 are two-part systems that weigh less than 450 grams, can be placed anywhere on the airframe, and feature a positive control knob, push buttons for Squawk code and Flight ID input, a bright and back lit LCD, and splash-proof transponder controller. The TT33 weighs 1.35 kg and operates at 240 watts from a supply voltage of 14 or 28 volts, giving it the lowest power consumption in its class. It produces less heat in the avionics stack to reduce loading on the aircraft’s electrical system. Additional features include a stop watch, flight timer and altitude alarm. Visit www.trig-avionics.com
for more information.
Appareo’s ADS-B Out transponder is designed with a non-glass panel aircraft in mind. It provides a 1090 ES transponder and a certified WAAS GPS in the same box. When combined with Appareo’s Stratus receiver and an iPad equipped with ForeFlight Mobile, the transponder also provides ADS-B In capability. Appareo’s transponder is expected to be certified this year, and avionics dealers will be able to schedule installations starting in the fall of 2015. For more information, visit www.appareo.com
Avidyne’s TAS600 series Traffic Advisory Systems (TAS), which are based on the technology originally developed for air-transport category traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS), are fully TSO certified and fully ADS-B upgradeable. With the TAS600 Series, Avidyne offers four different dual-antenna TAS systems, tailored for the type of aircraft you fly. The company’s entry-level model, the TAS600, is recommended for single-engine piston aircraft, and features a 7nm range, 3,500-foot vertical separation maximum and 18,000-foot service ceiling. The most involved model, the TAS620, features a 21nm range, a 10,000-foot vertical separation maximum and a 55,000-foot service ceiling. For more information, visit www.avidyne.com
BendixKing has more than 10,000 TCAS II/ACAS II installations on more than 325 aircraft types. Systems include the KTA 870 and 970 TCAS, which feature two directional antennas to minimize own-aircraft shadowing and maximize range, and the KMH 980 multi-hazard awareness system. The KMH 980 can track up to 60 aircraft and display information on up to 30 of those aircraft. Eight ranges from 2nm to 40nm show three levels of intruders, from non-threat to proximity intruder to Traffic Advisory (TA). It also includes takeoff and landing settings that highlight traffic above or below based on movement. For more information, visit www.bendixking.com
Garmin’s GTS 8000 TCAS/ACAS II is a fully TCAS 7.1 compliant system that issues resolution advisories to help clear conflicts, displays vertical speed constraints and climb/descend information, and is upgradeable for NextGen/SES System applications. The GTS 8000 provides clear picture of potential traffic threats and issues maneuver commands that direct pilots on how to clear those conflicts. It is also a Change 7.1 compliant solution and meets standardization requirements implemented in most countries. When he GTS 8000 detects a conflict, the system issues a Resolution Advisory (RA), which involved both visual and aural instructions on how to avoid a collision. For more information on the GTS 8000, visit www.garmin.com
Rockwell Collins’ TCAS-4000 provides total situational awareness of impending traffic conflicts, including the display of resolutions for immediate threats. The system is Change 7.1 compliant and tracks all Mode C and Mode S transponders. It provides range, relative bearing and altitude information for up to 30 aircraft that pose the greatest threat of collision. The TCAS-4000 features a real-time display of surrounding traffic situation and potential collision threats, which provides the crew with improved safety. For more information, visit www.rockwellcollins.com
Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS) are designed to minimize risk and maximize reaction time by constantly monitoring terrain and obstacles in proximity of the aircraft. Honeywell’s MK XXI EGPWS is a TSO-C194 HTAWS designed specifically for VFR helicopters without a radio altimeter, and it exceeds the FAA
TSO-C194 HTAWS requirements. It includes an internal GPS card and interfaces to weather radar indicators, multi-function displays and stand-alone displays. The MK XXII EGPWS is a TSO-C194 HTAWS designed specifically for IFR-equipped helicopters with a radio altimeter. In addition to its HTAWS required modes, the system includes several GPWS modes and unique callouts for excessive bank angle, tail strike protection and autorotation. For more information, visit aerospace.honeywell.com
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