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ÖAMTC seeks to improve rotary autopilot alongside Thales
Four-axis autopilot is a must for rescue flights, and six of ÖAMTC's fleet are already equipped with the technology. The operator is working with Thales to roll out the function on its roster of EC135s.
Read this story in our February 2019 printed issue.

HeliAir, the technology division of ÖAMTC Air Rescue, has entered into a strategic partnership with French electrical systems provider Thales. “Our goal is to further develop the AFCS autopilot from Thales, to integrate it on the EC135 helicopter and to test it in real operation,” says ÖAMTC MD Marco Trefanitz. “Many years of experience as well as our know-how and expertise are essential building blocks to achieving this goal.”

Four-axis autopilots are a valuable support for pilots, especially during rescue flights. The autopilot supports flight-related tasks up to hovering, which relieves crew during complex missions. “Six helicopters out of the ÖAMTC Christophorus fleet are already equipped with an autopilot,” continues Trefanitz. Since this achievement is especially valuable for 24-hour operations and for difficult rescue missions in alpine terrain, further helicopters will be retrofitted with this technology.

Together, ÖAMTC Air Rescue and Thales are looking to work on solutions that support pilots at each decisive moment during flight. “We know that ÖAMTC Air Rescue trusts in high technology solutions and is continuously working on further developing its air rescue system,” says Thales' MD in Austria Hannes Boyer. “We are looking forward to supporting its current and future ambitions with our expertise.”

The partnership between HeliAir and Thales could extend to other innovations such as fully digital helicopter cockpits, a helmet mounted display or tablet mounting.

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