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Business Air News Bulletin
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Airbus and Bell pilots gain wireless options
H145 operators will soon have access to Astronautics' wACS, while new production Bell 412EPX and 429 models can come off the production line with an installation of Badger Pro+ integrated flight display.
Badger Pro+ is able to display high-definition video from multiple inputs and provides night vision compatibility.

Wisconsin-headquartered Astronautics Corporation of America is readying its wireless airborne communication system (wACS) for entry into service on various Airbus Helicopters aircraft platforms, beginning with the H145. This past summer, Astronautics supported test flights to achieve EASA type certification on the aircraft and delivered final wACS software updates for production aircraft.

“Astronautics has completed formal test flights, as well as software updates on the wACS for Airbus Helicopters in support of its various platforms,” says president of Astronautics Chad Cundiff. “We look forward to working with Airbus Helicopters as this advanced communications system becomes standard fit for these new production helicopters.”

Astronautics' wACS will progressively provide Airbus Helicopters and its operators the ability to connect to the OEMs data lake via the Airbus Helionix avionics suite, allowing operators to leverage their data for enhanced safety, optimised costs and higher availability with the use of Airbus HCare analytics services. This will increase operational safety and faster performance computation when preparing for a flight; support flight operations with maintenance anticipation for easy decision making for next flights; make flight debriefing easier with improved schedules and unscheduled maintenance management; and speed up defect location and adaptive ranking of troubleshooting steps for easier maintenance.

It will also enable them to aggregate and securely transfer operational and maintenance data to onboard repository, over wi-fi or cellular connection, with cybersecurity ensured via encryption with two independent layers of security; securely connect pilot/crew tablets with onboard avionics while in flight; securely pull data and software updates from the ground to the aircraft wirelessly; and store and retrieve hundreds of hours of operational data within the system.

Each shipset consists of the airborne communications server (AFS6400), connectivity module (AFS6460), remote media device (AFS6480), to create a complete air-to-ground, secure data transmission system.

The company is also providing its Badger Pro+ integrated flight display system to Bell for Bell 412EPX and Bell 429 new production rotorcraft. The Badger Pro+ consists of six by eight-inch, high-resolution displays showing primary flight, navigation and engine data, as well as system synoptics, weight and balance, and checklist information. It is also able to display high-definition video from multiple inputs and provides night vision compatibility. Badger Pro+ integrates information from across all the systems on the aircraft to provide an operationally advanced pilot interface.

“Astronautics has built its reputation on designing reliable, trusted and innovative solutions that solve our customers' toughest challenges,” notes Cundiff. “The Badger Pro+ system provides Bell 412EPX and Bell 429 operators with enhanced situational awareness to reduce pilot workload and exceptional video capabilities for mission support, all with cost effectiveness. The readability of the displays is world class with colour, contrast, letter sizing and fonts that provide exceptional viewability. The displays also excel at presenting customisable video in multiple formats.”

Key highlights of the Badger Pro+ system include superior graphics and readability, versatile high-resolution video and proven reliability with operational savings.

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