AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the certification of its Obstacle Proximity LiDAR System (OPLSTM) which will help enhance safety during hovering flight whilst conducting SAR and emergency medical service (EMS) missions. Hovering flight during these type of missions has been identified as one of the most dangerous flight conditions as a result of perceptual judgment errors, wrong decision making, bad crew resource management, poor visibility and self induced pressure.
OPLSTM, AgustaWestland’s solution to enhance the safety of its helicopters whilst being used for demanding SAR & EMS roles, is being presented for the first time at Heli-Expo 2014 which is being held in Anaheim, CA, from 25th – 27th February. The system is designed to help the crew avoid main and tail rotor strikes against peripheral obstacles which jeopardize the aircraft’s safety during low speed hovering manoeuvres in confined spaces.
The OPLSTM consists of three main rotor-head-mounted LiDAR (Laser imaging Detection and Ranging) sensors that generate a 360 degree radial view around the aircraft and a dedicated cockpit control panel. The OPLSTM ensures fast and accurate detection and tracking of short range obstacles up to 25 m (80 ft) away by time-of-flight measurement at different angles. Pilots can operate and monitor the system from the control panel while video and audio indications are provided on the Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and through aircraft’s inter communication system (ICS).
The video indications provide a realistic 360° top-view representation of the helicopter and any obstacles, obstacle profiles on a polar grid, range captions, minimum safety margin indication, critical radial indication and safety color coding. The audio indications include adjustable distance thresholds, frequency coded margin (“beep”), band transition annunciations and mute functionality with automatic audio re-engagement. The system is also Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible.
The OPLSTM is now an option on the AW139 multirole intermediate twin helicopter and is fully integrated with the type’s avionics with information accessible on the cockpit multi function displays, and allows mutual reinforcement with the AW139 hovering mode. The system will also be made available for additional platforms including the AW169, AW189 and AW101 helicopters.
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