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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Eurocopter Developing Cockpit Video/Voice Recorder

PRODUCTS/AIRFRAMES

Eurocopter is developing a low-cost cockpit video and audio recording system for its aircraft that are not required to have crash-survivable cockpit voice recorders.

The move is in response to requests by the U.S. FAA for manufacturers and operators to adopt several initiatives to improve rotorcraft safety. These include wire-strike protection kits, cockpit voice and video recorders, health and usage monitoring systems, and terrain awareness warning systems. The FAA’s bid is part of international efforts to cut the helicopter accident rate 80 percent in 10 years.

Eurocopter’s American Eurocopter unit is pursuing a supplemental type certificate for the system, which aims to provide video at a fidelity sufficient for post-accident analysis, flight operations quality assurance programs, and training. The audio would come from a cockpit area microphone intended to capture rotor and engine sounds rather than conversations. The company is developing the system itself. It is not intended to be crash-survivable, but should cover most needs. The target price to customers is about $2,000 a unit.

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