Mini recorder to boost Eurocopter single safety

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Eurocopter is to make the Vision 1000 flight data monitoring system standard equipment on all AS350B2/B3 single-engined light helicopters from 2010.

The 300g (10.6oz) self-contained GPS and accelerometer-equipped independent inertial reference unit, built by North Dakota-based Appareo Systems, is expected to cost less than $10,000. It doubles as a flight data, audio and video recorder. The Los Angeles Police Department is the launch customer. Eurocopter also plans to offer the system as a retrofit option.

Appareo has gained supplemental type certificate approval for the hardware portion of Vision 1000 for the AS350 as well as for the Bell 206 and Bell 407. Flight data, audio and digital imagery are stored on a removable SD card, which can be downloaded to a computer, where customisable software analyses for data outside normal limits set by the operator.

The 0.9kg unit, which typically mounts behind and above the pilots for an unobstructed view of the panel, also includes crash-hardened internal memory for incident or accident reconstruction.

Aside from its mechanical connection to the helicopter interior, the device requires only 28v power and ground. Software applications were developed in part through Appareo's earlier work with the Bristow Group. Eurocopter expects to certificate the new equipment later this year, with first installations and deliveries in 2010.