Leonardo obtained the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification for the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics Phase 8 software and the EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System) optional kit with offshore modes. The Phase 8 software release marks the introduction of an advanced Synthetic Vision System (SVS) specifically tailored for helicopter applications, improved 2D maps and wireless data loading that delivers ‘even greater all-weather capabilities and mission effectiveness for all commercial and government missions’.
This latest standard increases crew situational awareness and reduces workload for operations at night or in marginal weather. The advanced SVS assists with navigation and landing approaches when operating within challenging terrain, oil rigs, and other demanding scenarios, which is accomplished via 3D presentation of the external scenario, including surrounding terrain, obstacles, runways and helipads within the background of the primary flight display. A user-friendly 2D Interactive Navigation (INAV) feature showing the helicopter position and flight plan on a map into the Multi-Functional Display (MFD) delivers unparalleled navigation system alignment and precision with the actual flight path, taking into account environmental factors. Phase 8 also has wireless connectivity embedded, providing high-speed data access for flight plans transfer and maintenance data gathering from the aircraft. Additionally, Custom Approach functionality provides the capability to design, set and fly an automated approach to any user-defined location, including oil rig helidecks.
The introduction of the new EGPWS version -036, which is also available for Phase 7, perfectly complements the latest software release and enhanced navigation capabilities for safer offshore operations. This more sophisticated HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System) introduces recommendations of CAA CAP 1519 for optimal use in offshore environments and gives pilots a greater time margin and earlier notifications for warning of a potential collision. This aims to be a key enabler for recognizing and responding to unsafe conditions.
Orders for nearly 1,200 units in over 70 countries have been placed by more than 280 commercial, paramilitary, and military customers worldwide, and over 1,050 helicopters are in service with more than 2.8 million flight hours logged in operations to date. The AW139 has a proven track record of outstanding mission accomplishment in the harshest conditions, according to Leonardo.