Aviation Weather for Bell Helicopters Gets a New Foe

Helicopter CFIT

For some Bell operators, aviation weather events just got a little clearer.

Helicopter safety has been top of mind for both pilots and the organizations that fly them recently, and for good reason. High profile events involving celebrities and EMS operations always make headlines and these accidents often involve marginal aviation weather and poor pilot situational awareness. 

The Astronautics Corporation of America, in partnership with the Rotorcraft Services Group (RSG), is hoping to make flying safer for helicopters. They have announced that the RoadRunner Electronic Flight Instrument (EFI) has just received its FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for certain Bell Helicopters and it looks like STC validations from Europe and Canada will be following soon.

Rotorcraft Services Group (RSG) is the Bell 212 and 412 STC owner and the provider for the Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) Installation kit on the Bell platforms. The RoadRunner EFI is a direct replacement for an existing attitude director and Horizontal Situation Indicator and is cost effective, easy to install, and offers numerous safety enhancements for the pilot.

Here are just some of the benefits realized by operators who choose the retrofit their aircraft:

  • More modern and capable cockpit
  • Approved for single pilot instrument flight rules
  • Decreased operator workload
  • Increased operational/safety capability by enabling localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches and RNAV with capable GPS
  • Readability in all lighting conditions, including NVIS compatible
  • Familiar and easy to use controls
  • Reduced operating and maintenance costs
  • Easily upgradable with field-loadable software, including synthetic vision and HTAWS

The EFI is meant to be a quick replacement for aging electromechanical instruments and it can be fully functional in the time it takes for a regularly scheduled maintenance visit. It promises to make a more modern system available for pilots who are flying all kinds of missions in all kinds of aviation weather, and that sounds like a safety enhancement that will benefit everyone.

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