Sandel Avionics has announced TSO approval for its revolutionary HeliTAWS helicopter terrain safety system, which adds Sandel's proprietary TrueAlert™ nuisance-alert elimination technology, off-airport landing capability and high-resolution 3-D terrain display capabilities to basic Class A HTAWS functions. The result is that HeliTAWS is expected to significantly increase the safety of such demanding helicopter missions as HEMS (helicopter emergency medical services); offshore oil rig operations; tactical military support; search and rescue; and airborne law enforcement.
Far exceeding the requirements of FAA's Technical Standard Order (TSO) C194, which governs en route HTAWS, HeliTAWS is a ruggedized, self-contained system with a high-resolution display that retrofits by removing and replacing an existing Radar Altimeter indicator. Sandel's TrueAlert™ technology increases pilot confidence in terrain technology by eliminating nuisance alerts, a significant problem with all existing terrain warning products that limits their usefulness in helicopter operations. With TrueAlert, pilots can safely take off, cruise, hover and land at off-airport locations without triggering nuisance alerts, while still receiving the established benefits of Class-A terrain warnings during the entire flight. The system is completely automatic and does not require pilot management of the phase of flight.
"We wanted to develop a breakthrough that would significantly raise the bar on HTAWS performance and expectations," said Gerry Block, Sandel's president. "The universal complaint with all existing systems is that during the performance of normal helicopter missions, the pilot gets unnecessary and distracting nuisance alerts. In contrast, HeliTAWS completely eliminates nuisance alerts," he noted.
"The difference with HeliTAWS is that our system works exactly as the pilot expects in all phases of flight. This includes the capability off-airport landings in terrain-challenged environments, which was quite a technical design challenge," Block concluded.
In a single 3-ATI enclosure, the HeliTAWS system incorporates an HTAWS computer with TrueAlert algorithms; terrain and obstacle databases; highly adaptable interfaces for digital and analog avionics; and an ultra-high resolution 3-D terrain display. In addition, it is capable of acting as primary Radar Altitude indicator (with a built-in Minimums setter) compatible with virtually all radar altimeter systems, to vastly simplify retrofit installation. It can also display traffic input from TCAS, TAS or TCAD systems, allowing it to become the central safety display in the helicopter. HeliTAWS is also available with Sandel's proprietary on-demand MIL-STD-3009 Class B NVIS optics.
Drawing from Sandel's impressive TAWS legacy - the company is the industry's second-largest supplier of retrofit Class A TAWS for fixed-wing part-25 commercial aircraft, with many thousands of systems installed on aircraft types ranging from King Airs to Boeing 747s - HeliTAWS meets DO-160F helicopter vibration standards, and has an MTBF of more than 10,000 hours. Shipping to fleet operators has already begun. The retail list price is $18,950.
Sandel Avionics, located in Vista, California, is a privately held company that provides compact integrated display systems for business aviation, air transport and regional, and rotary-wing aircraft. Recent successes include the company's best-selling, turbine-class ST3400 TAWS and its 4-ATI retrofit primary flight displays, and its new HeliTAWS is the helicopter industry's first complete helicopter safety solution. Additional information can be found at www.sandel.com.