HEMS Safety & Compliance – Honeywell Has Answers


Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operators are turning to Honeywell Aerospace to help them enhance safety and comply with FAA rules published in February. Honeywell is the leading supplier of systems that make flying safer and more efficient, including the onboard equipment now mandated by the FAA for air ambulance, commercial and general helicopter operations.

We already provide many leading HEMS operators with HTAWS, HUMS and tracking systems, and other systems that improve flight safety and efficiency and meet the new FAA requirements.

Included in the FAA mandate is the requirement that HEMS aircraft be equipped with:

  • Helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTAWS) to warn pilots of obstacles in their flight path,
  • Radio altimeters to measure the height of the aircraft above terrain and
  • Flight data monitoring (FDM) systems to provide information following an incident.


Operators have three years from the April 2015 effective date to bring their helicopters into compliance. The primary goal of the mandate is to dramatically reduce the number of fatal accidents experienced by HEMS operators. The FAA also estimates that the changes will save the industry $480 million over the next decade.

HTAWS and Radar Altimeters – Honeywell invented the first terrain awareness and warning system more than 30 years ago and were the first to tailor it for helicopter operations. Our Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) is still the industry leader with installations on all aircraft types, including helicopters. Honeywell has delivered more than 2,000 helicopter EGPWSs to date.

The Honeywell EGPWS uses aircraft inputs such as position, attitude, air speed and glide slope and a comprehensive database of terrain, man-made obstacle and runways to provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness. The system provides aural and visual alerts that enable pilots to take diversionary action and avoid accidents. EGPWS technology dramatically improved terrain awareness for helicopter pilots operating MK XXI and MK XXII EGPWS-equipped aircraft. In addition, the TRA 45A 3ATI display combines radar altitude and terrain into a single, easy to interpret display utilizing the KRA 405B Radar Altimeter which displays 2,000 ft. and provides analog and ARINC 429 outputs for increased interface capability.

FDM and FOQA – We also are the leading provider of FDM equipment including flight data and voice recorders. In addition, we have developed a wide range of technologies that enable Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. Our industry-leading Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) expertise enables condition based maintenance and – more importantly – prevents accidents by helping flight crews and maintenance teams identify and address performance issues before they become serious problems.

Sky Connect – The Sky Connect Tracker III mission management system enables concurrent voice, text and tracking of any fleet with a single box, courtesy of the Iridium® satellite network for the communications function. The system can also send real-time exceedance alerts from the HUMS. This gives ground maintenance and operations staff the opportunity to prep for service, even before the aircraft lands, saving valuable time and resources.

No one has more experience than Honeywell when it comes to developing products and services that improve the safety and efficiency of helicopter operations. We’re here to help as you prepare your fleet to comply with the FAA HEMS mandate.

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