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Sat, Jul 26, 2003

FAA Approves Chelton Flight Systems EFIS For Heli Ops

Chelton Is On A Roll...

Chelton Flight Systems has received FAA approval for installation of its FlightLogic synthetic vision EFIS in helicopters. With this landmark certification, FlightLogic becomes one of the few EFIS products in history to be certified for helicopters. The certification was accomplished as part of the FAA's Capstone program in Alaska along with integral support from the FAA's Rotorcraft Directorate in Fort Worth, Texas.

"The rotorcraft operating environment is extremely demanding," says Rick Price, Chelton's VP of Engineering and former Navy pilot. "Vibration and temperature extremes require that the components be much more rugged than those designed exclusively for fixed wing aircraft. Furthermore, since helicopters tend to operate at low levels near antennas, the equipment must be electrically armored against HIRF (High Intensity Radiated Fields), much more so than in airplanes. In addition, the system was the first to pass the rigorous new requirements for multiple-stoke, multiple-burst lightning."

The initial STC installation was performed by Hillsboro Aviation in Hillsboro, Oregon on a JetRanger they operate in commercial charter service. Additional models will be added to the STC as Capstone will be installing the systems in up to 50 commercial helicopters in Southeast Alaska.

"This certification was completed in a little over three months, which simply would not have been possible without the progressiveness and hard work of the FAA, both in Anchorage and Fort Worth," says Price. "The FlightLogic EFIS offers helicopter pilots some serious safety benefits and this initial STC will pave the way for these benefits to spread throughout the rotorcraft fleet."

The FlightLogic EFIS features the world�s first certified synthetic vision primary flight display, on which the pilot sees all flight instruments overlaying a forward-looking real-time 3-D terrain view of the world ahead of the aircraft. In addition to terrain, the display also includes towers, antennas, obstructions, traffic, and 3-D navigation symbology, all presented in the correct scale and perspective to match the view out the windshield.

Unique to FlightLogic�s helicopter display is the world's first precision hover vector display. Designed to eliminate dynamic rollover due to white-out or brown-out (self-induced IFR cause by snow or dust in the rotorwash), the hover vector uses precise, high-speed GPS to indicate direction and velocity of drift over the ground. The hover vector allows the pilot to safely recover from inadvertent zero-visibility situations, a problem that has plagued military and civil helicopters alike, and when combined with a radar altimeter, landing with no outside reference is possible. The hover vector is also useful for high-altitude stationkeeping and long-line external load work.

Another benefit afforded by the system is the ability for the pilot to quickly define and store a precision approach path to any point on or above the surface. This is especially useful for search-and-rescue missions, landing on structures, and operations in noise-sensitive areas. The pilot enters the position, altitude, approach course, and descent angle and the system provides lateral and vertical guidance so the approach can be flown identically time after time. Precision is enhanced with the integral GPS WAAS receiver capable of providing accuracy better than 1.5 meters as well as automatic integrity monitoring. The GPS WAAS signal is available now for aviation in the United States.

The FlightLogic EFIS also contains and embedded TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System) for helicopters. Known as H-TAWS, it provides the pilot with a variety of ground proximity and terrain avoidance features that are specially designed for the low-altitude operations typically performed by helicopters.

The complete system includes one to four displays, a GPS WAAS receiver, a solid-state attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), an airdata computer, a fuel totalizer, a voice warning system, and a flight recorder.

Upcoming enhancements include a remote control panel, a color weather radar interface, and a datalink interface that will bring high-resolution radar images from the Weather Channel to the cockpit.

FMI: www.cheltonflightsystems.com

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