Helicopter To Be Equipped With Thales Topdeck Avionics Suite
By Jim Douglas
December 21, 2011 - The Thales TopDeck avionics suite to
be installed in Sikorsky’s new S-76D helicopter will
offer new “click to fly” ability based on a concept that
has never been installed on a helicopter before: the
Icube-S concept of Intuitivity, Interactivity,
Integration and Safety.
The S-76D helicopter is the newest model in the popular
S-76® helicopter series manufactured by Sikorsky
Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies
Corp. TopDeck is an integrated modular avionics suite in
a glass cockpit derived from the latest technology.
“The key to enhancing safety is to optimize the crew’s cognitive workload, particularly during complex tasks,” said Yves Joannic, VP Helicopter Avionics activities of Thales Group.
“TopDeck allows a pilot flying the S-76D helicopter to directly control cockpit tasks on his displays using an intuitive Cursor Control Device (iCCD). This iCCD the first of its kind on a helicopter puts all the functions at the pilot’s fingertips, thus reducing workload, shortening reaction time and increasing safety.”
The increased reliability and safety
delivered in the Thales cockpit on the S-76D helicopter builds
upon the well established safety and reliability record of the
S-76 helicopter series. Several variations of the TopDeck
avionics are currently flying onboard the AgustaWestland A109,
Boeing’s Chinook, and the ATR72 from the ATR consortium.
In addition to the advanced Thales
integrated avionics system and autopilot, the S-76D helicopter’s
features include all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades;
an industry leading external acoustic signature, health and
usage monitoring system, active vibration control; powerful
Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines as standard equipment; and
an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather
“Throughout our test flight program, the S-76D helicopter prototypes have performed exceptionally well, with a smoothness and ease of flight that our customers have consistently expressed great excitement over,” said Dan Hunter, Sikorsky Global Helicopter’s Director of Programs.
with Thales on this element of the aircraft’s development has been very
successful in leveraging the inherent scalability of the TopDeck suite
and further enhancing its functional content. As with all of our
products, we expect to continue to add functionality as missions expand
and the marketplace demands new capabilities.”
Over the last
several months, Sikorsky has offered customers an opportunity to fly the
prototype S-76D aircraft. Greg Barnes, S-76D Chief Program Pilot, said
those who have flown it cited the aircraft’s power and performance, but
also marveled at the automatic flight control system and interactivity.
“The S-76D will
offer a multitude of new capabilities in an intuitive, interactive
cockpit that is very user friendly. In essence, it is a comprehensive
cockpit that is not complex to operate. These features will be
especially valuable to operators flying in demanding offshore oil or
emergency medical missions.”
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