Helicopter Pilots Are Getting “Synthetic Vision”

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A significant cockpit upgrade based on a “synthetic vision” will be provided by Honeywell to Leonardo’s AW139 helicopters. The Primus Epic 2.0 will deliver better maps, improved situational awareness at night and in marginal weather, and easier access through wireless connectivity, improving safety and saving time.

The system is track-based, meaning navigation follows the actual path of the helicopter and accounts for wind and other environmental factors.

The “synthetic vision” system enables pilots to fly a variety of challenging approaches. Helicopter-specific missions supported include corporate VIP transport, emergency medical services, oil and gas, and search and rescue, according to gpsworld.com.

The SmartView synthetic vision system is usable all the way down into the hover, helping pilots navigate during low-visibility conditions. These missions can include steep 9-degree descents into landing areas in challenging terrain and oil-rig approaches. Flight crews will also benefit from a more user-friendly, iNAV map visual interface with easy-to-use displays and an improved cursor that makes map manipulation and menu navigation more comfortable.

The Phase 8 upgrade also increases connectivity capabilities, with Wireless Data Loading that lets pilots access data at high speeds remotely without a hardwire connection, transferring flight plans wirelessly and accelerating preflight actions.