AlliedSignal and helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky have teamed up to develop an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) for rotary wing applications.

The specially developed system for helicopters will differ substantially from the fixed wing EGPWS, says AlliedSignal. A digital moving map will replace the traditional paper chart in the cockpit. The map will show the helicopter's height above terrain with colour or shading contrasts, and wires and other obstructions will be overlaid and clearly marked.

AlliedSignal says the EGPWS will also alert crew to threatening terrain or obstacles by activating visible and audible warnings.

The sheer number of potential hazards encountered during low-level helicopter operations means the database will have high-resolution information about terrain at locations away from the airport. Current EGPWS databases are generally of higher resolution near airports to provide warnings in terminal areas. Flight tests of the system will be performed on a Sikorsky S-76, with certification expected in the third quarter of next year.

• AlliedSignal has won US Federal Aviation Administration approval for three new models of compact, lightweight flight recorders, clearing the way for certification to begin on new business aircraft and helicopter applications.

The new AR series includes a solid-state flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and combined flight data and voice recorder. The series provides up to 2h of cockpit audio and up to 25h of flight data. The units weigh 4.1kg (9.2lb) each and, particularly in the case of the combined unit, take up less space than previous generations of recorders.

AlliedSignal believes the systems' compactness means that some aircraft could carry one in the nose and one in the tail to provide back-up information if one recorder is lost in a crash - a requirement called for by the US National Transportation Safety Board.

Source: Flight International