[Avionics Today Feb. 27, 2014] Super Puma operators are in need of new Flight Management Systems (FMS) to replace their legacy systems, and Universal Avionics believes it has the solution to fulfill their need, according to a report released by the Tucson, Ariz.-based manufacturer during Heli-Expo 2014.
Search and Rescue (SAR) and offshore oil and gas helicopter pilots fly in some of the most challenging visual environments in the world, and they need the latest avionics systems to help tackle those challenges. Offshore and SAR operators using Airbus Helicopters AS332L and AS332L1 Super Puma models are facing an obsolescence issue with their legacy FMS, the Racal RNAV 2, as the navigation database for that system has reached the end of its life cycle.
Photo courtesy of Universal Avionics
That has lead to increased demand for Universal's Multi-Mission Management System (MMMS), which is capable of enabling Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) approaches, and is also European P-RNAV and RNAV (GNSS) LPV-capable.
Heli-One Canada, a Universal authorized dealer, has specifically seen more interest in its turn-key modifications for the company's UNS-1Fw MMMS and LP/LPV Monitor under STC approval from CHC, the largest Super Puma operator in the world.
"These modifications were recently installed and are now operational on three CHC aircraft configured for offshore operations,” said Alan Stewart, senior manager, design engineering at Heli-One. "They provide unprecedented operational capabilities and deliver outstanding value to operators who need cutting-edge modifications and upgrades to support a wide range of critical missions."
Norm Matheis, Universal's regional sales manager for Canada, said more MMS interest is also coming from offshore operators who often need to introduce one or more standby SAR machines.
Modern FMS can help to reduce pilot workload and improve situational awareness, which is also driving more demand for Universal's MMMS.
Offshore operators requiring embedded FMS search patterns and looking to reduce fuel consumption can also meet their requirements with the MMMS as it has been enhanced to allow higher than standard rate turns, and course reversal guidance that prioritizes minimum time in the turn and always turning toward the next search pattern leg.
"Canned search patterns can be programmed, freeing the flight crew to concentrate on sighting the search object. You can’t have too many pairs of eyes looking outside when it comes to SAR," said Matheis.
Matheis said the company has also seen some interest in its MMMS from Super Puma operators and pilots looking to use their retrofit program to upgrade their avionics at Heli-Expo this week.