Universal Avionics (UA) has completed certification testing with authorised dealer Heli-One for its flight management system (FMS) Transition to Hover feature. Testing occurred in Stavanger, Norway, with a law enforcement AS332L or L1 Super Puma helicopter modernisation programme. Certification is now imminent.
The new FMS feature allows a hands-free operation for the crew, allowing them to focus on other mission critical tactics. The pilot-friendly interface provides for an automatic approach based on a pilot Mark-on-Target activation. When activated, the FMS computes and provides coupled guidance downwind, performs an automatic course reversal and communicates with the CDV-155 AFCS to trigger the descent and deceleration to achieve a hover 100 metres downwind of the target. At that point the helicopter enters an automatic hover at the pilot-selected altitude.
“The Transition to Hover feature is an important addition to the FMS/Multi-Missions Management System (MMMS) for SAR capabilities," says UA director of technical sales Grady Dees. "The UA UNS-1Fw MMMS provides the helicopter with multiple pre-programmed search patterns. It's a must-have feature for any AS332L or L1 crew engaged in overwater SAR operations. When, during a search, the crew spots survivors in the water, the automatic Transition to Hover allows for a stabilised and precise pattern to approach the survivors for rescue."
Heli-One senior manager design engineering Tor Baustad add: “It's a valuable tool for crews and can heavily benefit search and rescue missions. This solution was developed by Universal Avionics as it continues to enhance its FMS, adding great mission value for operators. We are pleased to collaborate with them and to work with our customers to bring these solutions to operational capability."
Work is also finished on Heli-One's Sikorsky S-76 VVIP helicopter flight deck upgrade. The avionics upgrade replaces legacy electronic flight instrument systems with three UA EFI-890H Advanced Flight Displays. The system also includes a new UA UNS-1Lw FMS with Vision-1 Synthetic Vision System.
The UA modern glass cockpit upgrade features the latest in avionics technologies that are often only available on new aircraft. The modification is available for operators who want the modern S-76D-like avionics look and feel in other S-76 variants, including the S-76A, B, C, C+ or C++ models. Supplemental type certificates are imminent.
“Legacy helicopters have needed these upgrades for some time, but the options for doing so have been limited until now," says Dees. "Obsolescence and difficulty in supporting electromechanical displays, as well as some mandates, are driving the upgrade market as are the costs of upgrading a helicopter versus purchasing a new one. There is still a lot of life left in these machines and Heli-One's experienced and capable team of avionics designers recognise the capabilities to support them. Paired with our products that are designed to seamlessly retrofit onto legacy aircraft, Heli-One and Universal Avionics can offer cost-effective, reliable upgrade solutions."
The EFI-890H solution is a customised, cost-effective technology upgrade for the S-76B that makes it possible to see the projected flight path when coupled with the display of aircraft traffic. Thus the operator is aware of other traffic in relation to the track they intend to take, and to judge diverging or converging tracks well in advance. Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System terrain also displays, providing terrain mapping when operating low level in an airport or off-airport environment. When operating in marginal visual meteorological conditions this is a tremendous enhancement in safety.