An Air France A340-300 nearly crashed while on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on March 13 last year because the crew failed to understand the danger cues the aircraft’s flight systems were showing them. The aircraft was already above the recommended altitude for glideslope intercept–with speedbrakes deployed–as it was being vectored for the Runway 8R Cat III ILS at CDG. On low-visibility approaches at CDG, ATC procedures also require aircraft to be slowed to less than 180 knots within 15 miles.
Bill Antwerp of Gaffney, S.C., owns and flies a pristine Bell 407 with a newly installed Cobham HeliSAS stability and augmentation system and autopilot. With another pilot, he flew his helicopter from his home in South Carolina to Las Vegas for Heli-Expo ’13. At his first fuel stop, he texted Jamie Luster, director of sales and marketing of Cobham Avionics in Mineral Wells, Texas, saying, “I love the autopilot.”
Mineral Wells, Texas-based Cobham Commercial Systems (Booth No. C715) recently received European and Chinese STC approvals for its HeliSAS, a helicopter stability augmentation system and autopilot. HeliSAS is a two-axis, attitude-hold/attitude-command flight control system that “significantly reduces pilot workload and allows pilots to perform many cockpit functions hands free,” according to Cobham.
Wichita’s Yingling Aviation recently completed the installation of a new digital panel on a Cessna 425 Conquest I. It includes dual Garmin G600 avionics coupled with an S-Tec 2100 digital flight control system autopilot. Garmin’s GTN 650 combines in a small package GPS, com and nav functions with multifunction display capabilities such as high-resolution terrain mapping, graphical flight planning, multiple weather options and traffic display. It also includes a touchscreen interface.
The Eurocopter EC225 medium twin now has a traffic collision avoidance system (Tcas) II integrated into its autopilot, eliminating the need for pilot input in emergency avoidance maneuvers. The first such standard-equipped EC225 was delivered earlier this year. Offshore operator Bristow previously STC’d a Tcas II installation on the AS332 Super Puma; Eurocopter claims to go one step further, with more integration.
Russian Helicopters is developing a “comprehensive avionics system” for situational awareness, autopilot landing and collision avoidance. It will be installed on all new Russian-made helicopters starting in 2015. The new “intelligent” system will inform pilots about hazards in the landing area. It will even enable the aircraft to hover above a given point and land automatically.
The UK’s Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) last month released details of the Dash 8 incident at Exeter Airport (EGTE) in Southwestern England, in September 2010.
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.
Robert Barnes, president of the International Association of Flight Training Professionals and a frequent presenter at the World Aviation Training Conference (WATS) alerted AIN to an important presentation on aircraft handling at the WATS event in Orlando last week (while AINSafety
Avidyne is close to obtaining certification of its DFC90 autopilot interface with Aspen’s EFD1000 PFD. Avidyne and Aspen Avionics demonstrated Avidyne’s new digital autopilot interfaced with Aspen’s EFD1000 Pro primary flight display (PFD) last month in two flight-test aircraft: a Cessna 182 and a Cirrus SR22. The DFC90 is currently certified in Cirrus SRs and Piper PA-46s equipped with Avidyne Entegra displays.