From the FAA to hardware OEMs to installers' practices, special considerations abound
Story by Dave Higdon for Avionics News February Edition.
Last October in Orlando, Florida, a young pilot scanned a display of new glass-cockpit systems before asking a company representative about two visually identical systems in the company brochure: "What's the 'H' designated on these?" Nearby on the floor of the National Business Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition stood the source of his puzzlement: Two pairings of primary flight displays with multifunctional displays, one pairing with an 'H' suffix on the model identification, the other lacking any letter.
"The ones with no 'H' are our fixed-wing units." answered the avionics representative. "The ones with an 'H' are designed and built specifically for helicopter installations." The rep added, by way of explanation, "Helicopters bring some difference issues to avionics, and some helicopter avionics face difference, somewhat more stringent approval standards because of those differences."
Appearing uncertain about those differences, the young pilot nodded, smiled and drifted on to other exhibits. Not surprised, the rep explained that newer pilots often don't know that the Federal Aviation Adminstration in the U.S. sets specific standards for helicopters, some helicopter avionics and approvals. "It reflects their interested in helicopters--or lack of interest," he said.