Able Aerospace Services Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced that it has delivered its 100th state-of-the-art flight deck upgrade for Air Evac Lifeteam, the largest independently owned and operated membership-supported air ambulance service in the U.S.
Completed for a mixed fleet of Bell 206 and Bell 407 helicopters, the upgrade ensures that Air Evac Lifeteam is compliant with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 2017 Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) mandate for cockpit safety improvements, such as Helicopter Terrain and Warning Systems (HTAWS), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Flight Data Monitoring Systems (FDMS). Air Evac Lifeteam has also chosen to add additional safety enhancements to its fleet that are not required by the FAA mandate, such as the Garmin 650/500 glass cockpit, HeliSAS autopilot system and electronic flight bags.
“The rotor-wing market is flush with new avionics systems requirements, ranging from almost immediate mandates to upgrades that need to happen within the next few years,” said David Gustafson, Business Development Manager for Able Aerospace Services. “Able had the facility and the experts to support Air Evac Lifeteam with completions that were priced competitively, could be done quickly to minimize aircraft downtime and placed the operator in full FAA compliance in advance of key deadlines.”
Dennis Cleaves, senior director of maintenance for Air Evac Lifeteam, said Air Evac and Able have had a long-standing relationship. “Able continues to develop innovative support solutions that bring real value to our business,” he said. “This out-of-the-box thinking is industry-leading and aligns well with our mission, vision and values.”
Able will continue to complete flight deck upgrades for Air Evac Lifeteam into the second quarter, completing a 126-aircraft contract that creates a common configuration across all aircraft, including:
• Installation of mission-specific equipment
• HeliSAS autopilot systems
• ADS-B compliance
• HTAWS compliance
• Digital-dependent Flight Data Monitoring technology
• Garmin glass cockpit upgrades as a Garmin Authorized Dealer
“Collectively, these improvements transform analog systems to digital, ensuring an operator’s regulatory compliance and dramatically improving crew safety by increasing their situational awareness of weather, terrain, obstacles and other aircraft,” said Gustafson. “These are tremendous advantages that, outside of personal or operational preference, are virtually identical for EMS, law enforcement, utility and VIP-configured aircraft.”
All flight deck upgrades for Air Evac Lifeteam were completed within the Able Maintenance Center (AMC), a specialized hangar facility located within the company’s 200,000-square-foot headquarters, situated along an active taxiway at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona, to allow for a convenient induction of aircraft.
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