Avionics News January 2021 - 21

the helicopter's diversity antenna making a connection with
one of the 66 cross-linked low-Earth orbit satellites that
constitute the Aireon network - the satellites which make up
this global air traffic surveillance and tracking network.
But engineers tell us that on many helicopters it's
possible to mount the diversity antenna on a part of the
fuselage less susceptible to any rotor-blade interference.
As these solutions make their way into the helicopter fleet,
the institutional knowledge will grow on which solutions
constitute the best option.
Nonetheless, diversity may be of little concern to the vast
majority of helicopter operators. Most never fly high enough
for the 1090ES option to be required in the U.S. - 18,000 feet
mean sea level.
At the more-common altitudes flown by helicopters,
solutions like the 978 MHz universal access transceiver
remain a viable option. And for these solutions, the bottommounted antenna will work - with the aforementioned
limitations caused by flying too low to maintain a connection
with the FAA ground stations in the U.S., the only country
currently using the 978 MHz UAT system.
Give 'em an 'H'
One aspect of installing ADS-B in helicopters that must be
followed is selecting a system TSO'd for helicopter use.
A technical standard order is a minimum performance
standard for specified materials, parts and appliances used
on civil aircraft. A TSO authorization may cover approval
to manufacture a material, part or appliance. Receiving
TSO authorization is both design and production approval.
Avionics for TSO'd helicopters must endure vibration and
interference testing not generally required of systems for
fixed-wing aircraft.
One example of a system specifically TSO'd for
helicopters is the helicopter terrain awareness and warning
system. A computer-based system, HTAWS provides flight
crews with both aural and visual alerts of pending collision of
the terrain. The certification takes into consideration factors
such as crew recognition and reaction times.
The system achieves enhanced awareness by employing
a look-ahead function that provides cautions, warnings, and
terrain and obstacle display. Helicopter transponders face the
same level of testing and proving.
Garmin unveiled diversity-capable models of its GTX 335
and GTX 345 ADS-B Out transponders back in March 2019,
and that line includes models TSO'd for use in helicopters.
The GTX 345 ADS-B transponder also features a dual-link
ADS-B In receiver. With the dual-link receiver, the GTX
345 can receive ADS-B In - FIS-B and TIS-B - on both

frequencies (978 MHz and 1090 MHz) authorized for ADS-B
operations in the U.S.
This feature provides the most complete traffic picture from
aircraft transmitting on either frequency while also enhancing
the aircraft's ability to access ADS-B transmissions and
services from virtually anywhere. When integrating an active
traffic system with the GTX 345, ADS-B traffic and active
traffic targets are merged on the display to give pilots a truly
comprehensive traffic picture.
The GTX 345 series transponders also make available
FIS-B and TIS-B, the subscription-free weather and traffic
display capabilities available via ADS-B In receivers. These
often can be interfaced with compatible cockpit displays or
streamed wirelessly via Garmin's Connext technology for
display on popular tablet and mobile device apps such as
Garmin Pilot, ForeFlight Mobile or FltPlan Go.
The ADS-B weather link is continuously broadcast on
the 978 MHz universal access transceiver frequency and is
similar to the basic services offered by leading commercial
satellite weather providers. For example, pilots can access
NEXRAD imagery, METARs, TAFs, winds and temperatures
aloft, PIREPs, NOTAMs and more, while in-flight.
Additionally, ADS-B traffic position reports, along with
Garmin's threat-level symbology, helps pilots identify
and avoid targets moving in the vicinity. The system also
provides spoken audio alerts to call out potential flight path
conflicts - " Traffic, 10 o'clock, same altitude, 2 miles " - to
get pilots looking in the right direction.
The benefits of ADS-B In traffic and weather can be
particularly useful for pilots flying the types of missions
common to helicopters. And added flexibility and
situational awareness is never an unwelcome asset for
helicopter pilots, whether navigating in today's busy
airspace or maneuvering to an off-field landing for HEMS
or other low-altitude needs.
Collins Aerospace offers the first TCAS 7.1-compliant
traffic avoidance system certified for use by helicopters,
offering display of traffic conflicts and resolution advisories
on either a stand-alone or integrated cockpit display. The
model includes an embedded traffic computer with growth
to future ADS-B In applications.
uAvionix developed and TSO'd its tailBeacon ADS-B
system for helicopters, with some limitations, as well as
the tailBeaconX, a diversity version of the company's
tailBeacon.
As with other uAvionix systems, the unit is fully selfcontained, with the ADS-B Out and In hardware and a Mode S
1090ES transponder. The company also makes panel modules
for controlling some of the functions available. q

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Avionics News January 2021

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