Avionics News February 2016 - 18
"The helicopter is probably the
most versatile instrument ever
invented by man. It approaches
closer than any other to fulfillment
of mankind's ancient dreams of the
flying horse and the magic carpet."
THE HELICOPTER AVIONICS
S T O R Y
UPGRADES MAY PROVIDE
D A L E
S M I T H
hile seemingly every avionics shop owner/manager and aircraft
owner/operator has Jan. 1 already marked on their 2020 calendars,
helicopter operators - and EMS providers in particular - also have a
big red circle around April 24, 2017. Why?
Well, that's the date the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. has mandated
for emergency medical services and Part 135 helicopter operators to equip with helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems, as well as radar altimeters.
Additionally, there's a follow-on requirement for those same EMS and Part 135
operators to equip their helicopters with a digital flight data monitoring system by
April 23, 2018.
While the safety benefits of adding H-TAWS and radar altimeters to EMS and
some Part 135 operated helicopters are obvious, this also creates more opportunities
for avionics shops to boost their bottom lines, especially with the mandated deadline
being a little more than a year away.
For example, when operators bring their helicopters in for the H-TAWS/radar altimeter upgrade, it creates an ideal time for shops to do a bit of upselling such as adding ADS-B, an autopilot, XM Weather, traffic or a host of other upgrades to the mix.
For the most part, today's new-generation avionics offer helicopter operators a
host of safety and operational benefits, including increased reliability and capabilities, and reduced weight. That weight reduction comes in two forms. The units are
smaller and lighter, and traditional gyros can now be replaced with a lightweight,
solid-state AHRS unit, which also eliminates the need for periodic inspections and