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Friday, May 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: DAFCS Aiding CH-47F Pilots

PRODUCTS | MILITARY

The Digital Advanced Flight Control Systems (DAFCS) installed on U.S. CH-47F Chinook helicopters is helping pilots make safer desert landings.

The Common Avionics Architecture Systems (CAAS) glass cockpit, DAFCS "provides the pilot with heightened situational awareness and safety," said Mark Ballew, Boeing’s senior business development manager for tandem rotor aircraft. "For instance, you can plug the data for an instrument landing at a specific airfield into DACFS, and the system will execute it for you. If you have to break off a landing and do a go-round, DACFS can be set to automatically execute the go-round."

DACFS is proving itself in Iraq and Afghanistan, where 26 CH-47Fs are equipped with the system. "DACFS can help you deal with brownouts during landing," Ballew said. "You can program the system to level off in a stable hover at 15 feet, then to lower you a foot at a time to the ground automatically." A helicopter pilot who served in Desert Storm, Ballew knows what it is like to get disoriented by blowing sand during touchdown. "DAFCS was designed to deal with such problems," he said. "We’ve had a lot of feedback from pilots serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who say the DAFCS system has made their landings much safer and more predictable." Boeing has delivered 60 CH-47Fs to the U.S., with 392 more scheduled to be delivered under a multi-year contract.

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