Commercial helicopters are complex machines that fly low to the ground, in rugged terrain, in all kinds of weather, tackling unique and sometimes perilous missions. No wonder improving flight safety is the No. 1 priority for everyone in the helicopter community – from manufacturers and technology suppliers to owners, operators, end users and pilots.
No one in the industry spends more time thinking about ways to prevent helicopter accidents than Honeywell Aerospace. Flight safety has been our focus for more than a century and we’re responsible for hundreds of innovations that help make flying in a fixed-wing aircraft safer and more efficient.
Safety remains deeply embedded in our corporate culture. We are on the leading edge when it comes to developing solutions that improve the safety of flight with technologies that impact every facet of the world’s air transportation system – from air traffic management, to landing and runway safety systems, to the latest onboard technologies that help prevent accidents.
We’re developing differentiated solutions to meet the specific needs of the helicopter community with the ultimate goal of making rotary-wing flight as safe as fixed-wing flight.
We take a proactive approach to our safety research and development efforts, listening to industry opinion-leaders and monitoring accident and incident data to make sure that current and future solutions directly address – and ultimately mitigate – the leading causes of aircraft accidents.
Our recent analysis of data from the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) uncovered the leading causes of helicopter accidents and incidents worldwide (see chart). We examined data for both single-engine and twin-engine helicopters in this analysis.
Honeywell solutions available today address 80 percent of all helicopter accident/incident causes. Here are examples of solutions that mitigate the top four causes, which account for 53 percent of all accidents and incidents.
The Sky Connect Tracker III mission management system and our industry-leading Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) work together to help mitigate the two leading causes of accidents, Loss of Control in Flight and System/Component Failure – Power Plant.
The Sky Connect Tracker family of products fulfills operators’ Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) needs to capture data pertaining to the aircraft’s state (such as heading, altitude and attitude), condition (such as rotors, transmission, engine parameters and flight controls), and system performance (such as full authority digital engine control and electronic flight instrumentation system). The system also enables the application of the latest Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) techniques and uses a satellite communications network to provide vital engine performance data to maintenance teams.
HUMS technology improves the safety and reliability of engines and power plant components. It monitors the health of vibrating and spinning parts and records the operational context of events so flight and maintenance crews can analyze trends and perform condition-based maintenance. Sky Connect Tracker III integrates with HUMS to provide real-time vehicle health status and maintenance alerts.
Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) uses aircraft inputs 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 Controlled Flight into Terrain, the third leading cause of helicopter accidents.
The EGPWS also addresses the fourth leading cause of accidents, Low Altitude Ops, by providing early warning when a helicopter is in danger of flying into terrain or other obstacles. Honeywell Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) technologies also contribute to safety by improving situational awareness. TCAS shows pilots the location of other aircraft in real time and alerts them when there is a potential mid-air conflict with surrounding air traffic. Our radio altimeters provide accurate altitude readings above terrain, providing data to the EGPWS and TCAS as well as the flight crew.
For more information on Honeywell helicopter technologies visit our website.