US-based maintenance, repair and overhaul provider StandardAero has much to celebrate, having developed a new safety-driven light helicopter autopilot system designed by Thales; celebrating the success of their retrofittable crash-resistant fuel tank (CRFT) for the Airbus Helicopters AS350 and EC130 series; and achieving Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for the new Bell 212 glass cockpit upgrade.
On 4 March, StandardAero and Thales announced continued progress in their partnership focused on the new light helicopter autopilot system, and having now completed an in-depth market study, planning is underway for the next phase of development.
Rick Stine, President of StandardAero Components, Helicopters and Accessories, said: “Our efforts in the deployment of this light helicopter autopilot system are firmly embedded in our overall safety approach as part of our SAFECRAFT initiative.” He continued: “We are very excited to be working in partnership with a world-class innovator such as Thales, and we believe that with our combined expertise, the introduction of this truly one-of-a-kind, advanced autopilot solution will prove effective in addressing many of the known safety concerns operators are facing today.”
StandardAero and Robertson Fuel Systems’ CRFT will soon see delivery to the European market, following the success within Airbus Helicopters. Stine noted: “The industry has a strong demand for improved safety solutions for legacy helicopters like the AS350, and with products like those that comprise our SAFECRAFT portfolio, our team of aftermarket experts are leading the development of mission critical safety solutions to face those demands head-on.”
StandardAero’s attainment of FAA certification of a new glass cockpit upgrade for the Bell 212 helicopter, available for both visual flight rules and instrument flight rules operations, was also announced on 4 March. The first installation of this new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) was accomplished in cooperation with Bell Customer Service Facility, Alpine Aerotech, and their launch customer; in addition to the installation of two Universal Avionics (UA) Advanced Flight Displays, the STC also includes incorporation of dual, large format Garmin GTN 750 touchscreen navigators offering NAV/COM/GPS/HTAWS/ADS-B capability.
“We are excited to bring yet another advanced technological retrofit solution to the market, specifically supporting those operators using the Bell 212 to perform important firefighting, search and rescue, offshore and utility missions day in and day out,” said Elvis Moniz, StandardAero’s Vice-President of Business Development for Airframes and Avionics. “Over the past year, our experienced in-house design team worked diligently with the UA and Alpine Aerotech teams to make this modernised safety solution a reality.”