Helicopter Safety By Feel
It’s now possible to literally “feel” your way around the helicopter’s operating envelope. Safe Flight Instrument, LLC has successfully transferred more than 50 years of fixed-wing stall warning technology into two new warning systems, which are designed to dramatically enhance helicopter operations.
Today’s helicopter pilots are burdened with increased communication, navigation and operational requirements. “Eyes out of the cockpit” flying has become the norm. External loads, confined areas, and pinnacle operations as well as aggressive maneuvering requirements are real world challenges for emergency medical services, offshore oil rig servicing, logging, military operations, and others. Now Safe Flight’s tactile warning cues provide the missing ingredient.
Tactile warning is unmistakable and effective. It unmistakably alerts the pilot that an operating limit is being approached. Flight management near the edge of the operating envelope is significantly enhanced, allowing the pilot to carry loads and maneuver more confidently. Pilots already saturated with multiple visual and aural cockpit warnings appreciate this approach to safety and performance.
The Collective Shaker system simultaneously monitor’s several engine/mast limits, such as transmission torque, exhaust gas temperature, gas producer speed, and rotor speed. The correct action when reaching any of these limits is to reduce power by lowering the collective; operation of the system is completely intuitive. With the Collective Shaker, the pilot remains “in the loop” and can make real time decisions based on accurate and timely warning. If the pilot chooses to exceed the limits, he knows that an exceedance has occurred, and can act accordingly. Most importantly, the system does not impair normal collective motion.
The Collective Shaker provides two noticeably different levels of warning. A low-speed shake warns that a pre-determined operational level is being approached. A high-speed shake provides a more urgent alert as the limit is reached or exceeded. The shake continues only as long as the exceedance exists. When the shaking stops the pilot knows immediately that he is once again operating within the helicopter’s normal limits.
Safe Flight’s Pedal Shaker warns the pilot when approaching the pedal limit. The Pedal Shaker enhances the pilot’s situational awareness during out-of-ground-effect hover situations, high crosswind operations, or high-density altitude situations, where power required may exceed power available. The shaker activates at a predetermined limit, giving the pilot time to maintain control.
Inadvertently exceeding normal operating limits is a direct cause of dramatically higher operating costs, premature component failure and accidents. Operators must know when limits are exceeded because unscheduled maintenance is often required as a consequence. The economic and operational costs of such unplanned maintenance can be devastating. Protection against inadvertently exceeding limits is essential.
Safe Flight’s Tactile Cueing are a proactive solution to the expense and danger of over-limit helicopter operations. Unlike HUMS systems which simply document exceedance events after they have already occurred, our systems are designed to PREVENT these dangerous and costly exceedances from ever occurring. The Safe Flight Tactile Cueing may easily pay for itself by avoiding only a single exceedance event.
Find out how Safe Flight’s Collective Shaker and Pedal Warning Systems can improve performance, expand safety margins, and reduce your operating costs.