Tcas II Integrated into EC225’s Autopilot
Eurocopter has integrated a Tcas II into the EC225 medium twin helicopter’s autopilot, meaning pilot input is not needed for emergency avoidance maneuvers. In the event of conflicting trajectories and after a traffic alert without any resulting pilot action, the Tcas II will issue a resolution advisory (RA) and the autopilot will react immediately by commanding a climb or descent to ensure safe separation. It will then return the helicopter to its original altitude. Asked about the benefits of such additional automation, Eurocopter emphasized that RAs are rare events and pilots are inadequately conditioned to react to them. As a result they sometimes overreact, possibly evading severely enough to trigger a second RA.
In the event the Tcas II does trigger an automated evasive maneuver, the crew will receive indications on the main displays and an aural alert, with the goal of minimizing surprise. The first such standard-equipped EC225 was delivered recently. The next Eurocopter to get a Tcas II system integrated with the autopilot is the in-development EC175 medium twin.