For First Rule-Compliant ADS-B Installation In GOMEX Helicopters Waco Texas, June 14, 2012, FreeFlight Systems, a leading NextGen avionics supplier, and Chevron Corporation announced today that FreeFlight Systems has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the first fully rule-compliant ADS-B solution for Gulf of Mexico (GOMEX) helicopter operators.
Developed using the FreeFlight Systems RANGR FDL-978TX ADS-B Out system and Chevron’s AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters, the STC will help improve the efficiency and cost of flights carrying as many as 11,000 people daily to and from offshore oil exploration platforms. FreeFlight Systems and Chevron selected the AW139 as the STC development aircraft because it is one of the most widely used GOMEX helicopter models, and because it has one of the most technically challenging avionics systems to modify for ADS-B.
The STC is available immediately from FreeFlight Systems.
The ADS-B infrastructure in the Gulf allows Air Traffic Control in Houston to identify and track aircraft operating offshore far beyond the range of traditional radar. This can dramatically increase the efficiency of operations especially in low-visibility conditions. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration estimates that more direct point-to-point routing available to an ADS-B-equipped helicopter can reduce fuel consumption significantly.
“The promise of ADS-B for improved flight operations and reduced costs is now a reality for Gulf helicopter operators,” said Tim Taylor, CEO of FreeFlight Systems. “Working with Chevron we tackled the significant challenges in incorporating ADS-B into AW139’s sophisticated avionics suite. In the end, this installation was quite straightforward and demonstrated the advantages of a UAT ADS-B implementation, notably the seamless integration with existing aircraft systems, operational capabilities and cockpit procedures. Installation in other aircraft types with more traditional avionics systems will be even easier.”
As the first rule compliant TSO-C154c UAT transmitter to comply with Advisory Circular AC 20-165, the RANGR FDL-978TX continuously reports course, speed and altitude data to air traffic controllers and other ADS-B equipped aircraft. The unit is qualified to DO-160G environmental requirements (including helicopter vibration), weighs less than one pound and connects to the FreeFlight Systems low-cost 1201 WAAS/GPS receiver in a straightforward installation.
About FreeFlight Systems
FreeFlight Systems designs and manufactures high-performance avionics systems that deliver substantial safety, cost, environmental and other benefits for the NextGen airspace transformation. Founded in 2001 and based in Texas, the company pioneered the first certified WAAS/GPS receiver and today produces a range of high-quality, competitively priced NextGen systems for installation in all aircraft types. For more information, please visit www.freeflightsystems.com.
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