Cobham glass cockpit approved for helicopter IFR operations

June 2, 2009

Cobham Avionics announced FAA approval of its synthetic vision glass cockpit for single-pilot IFR operation of the Bell 412 helicopter. The supplemental type certificate was issued to Broussard, La.-based Arrow Aviation, making it the world’s first IFR approval for a synthetic vision system in a helicopter.

The Bell 412 uses the synthetic vision three-dimensional graphic technology to translate the terrain ahead of and around the helicopter into an intuitive, real-time visual picture. The system helps the pilot see aircraft position in relation to its surroundings, regardless of darkness or weather conditions. This display reduces instrument scanning and pilot fatigue by consolidating readings of all primary flight instruments into one efficient tool, resulting in a reduced pilot workload and safer execution of flight plans and procedures.

The search and rescue unit of North Slope Borough, Alaska, will be the first customer to have Cobham’s electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) installed on a 412. The North Slope Borough 412 performs medevac, search and rescue, and emergency missions in the rigorous environment of Alaska’s North Slope.

David Guidry, Arrow Aviation general manager, said, “The Bell 412 is already a capable aircraft, and the addition of the Cobham EFIS make it even more so, bringing it into the twenty-first century in terms of pilot interface and enhanced safety.”