Babcock Aviation has selected a full suite of new generation digital video equipment, including Avalex AVM4178Q HD widescreen displays, the AVC1816 smart video management system and AVR8414 HD DVR, as part of the fleet upgrade programme for a fleet of five Airbus H135 helicopters operated by Western Power Distribution (WPD). This will enable WPD to more efficiently monitor and manage its network of power distribution lines across the Midlands, south west England and Wales.
The upgrade is being completed by Babcock Aviation at its base in Staverton, and includes two Avalex 17-inch HD monitors, a single 10-inch HD display, a multi-channel HD digital video recorder (DVR) and the Avalex smart video management system. Other special mission equipment includes stabilised infrared camera turrets, LIDAR laser surveying devices and ergonomically optimised workstations for the cabin and cockpit crews.
"We are very pleased and honoured to have our equipment selected as part of this critical helicopter upgrade programme," says Tony Hatten, vp of business development for Avalex Technologies. "The helicopters play a vital role in enabling WPD to monitor the nearly 137,000 miles of overhead lines and underground cables that deliver power to over 7.8 million customers.
"Our new generation video equipment will not only enable its crews to see the condition of the lines with unparalleled clarity and accuracy, it will also provide the flexibility to digitally record the images for further analysis once the aircraft has arrived back at its base," he says. "And because our equipment is ruggedised for helicopter operations, it will dramatically increase hardware reliability, while reducing system maintenance and downtime.
"We have worked very closely with Babcock Aviation to select and supply mission equipment that not only meets WPD's current operational needs, but has the capabilities to grow and provide expanded services while guaranteeing the upgrade path to protect its investment."