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Welcome to the Age of the Connected Helicopter

Welcome to the Age of the Connected Helicopter

You’ll see the impact of connectivity just about everywhere you look in the helicopter world. Operators in every sector are seeing the enormous benefits of connected helicopter solutions that affect maintenance, operations, and cabin communications.

In some areas, the helicopter industry lags a year or two behind our fixed-wing brethren in adopting these breakthrough applications, which is an advantage as we’re able to adapt tried-and-true products, services and software solutions to the unique requirements of helicopter operations. In other areas, specifically connected maintenance, the helicopter industry pioneered foundational concepts like health and usage monitoring decades ago.

Across the board, we see enormous benefits in safety, efficiency, availability, cost and mission effectiveness as the connected helicopter concept continues to evolve. Connected helicopter solutions hover around three different types of applications – maintenance, operations, and cabin connectivity.

Introduced more than three decades ago, Honeywell’s Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) technology is a cornerstone of predictive and condition-based maintenance concepts for civil and military helicopters. HUMS use sophisticated sensors on critical parts to monitor their health and performance, helping maintenance teams identify potential issues before they become major problems.

We’ve taken HUMS to the next level with RECON, a connected helicopter solution that lets maintenance crews on the ground monitor mechanical systems on airborne helicopters from anywhere at any time. With RECON, operators can expect to experience a 30 percent reduction in aborted missions, a 20 percent reduction in maintenance test flights, and at least a 5-10 percent reduction in scheduled maintenance.

Connected mission management and flight data monitoring systems like Honeywell’s Sky Connect Tracker 3A help operators improve the safety and efficiency of fleet operations in diverse industries such as offshore oil transport and helicopter air ambulance. Working through Honeywell’s compact satellite terminal and the Iridium satellite constellation, the system provides reliable, secure and encrypted, global communications system connectivity.

It also enables 3D tracking and flight data monitoring by providing continuous location, flight status, and route for each helicopter in the fleet. Simultaneous tracking and voice capabilities allow vital tracking and urgent text messages to come through even during lengthy voice calls. The Sky Connect Tracker 3A transceiver gives operators the ability to capture 512 data parameters from engines, flight controls, and avionics.

Our new Mission Communications Terminal (MCT) introduces Iridium push-to-talk capabilities and supports telephone calls and 2-way texting between helicopter crews and dispatchers on the ground, via the Iridium network.

Whether it’s the CEO traveling across town, a paramedic en route to an accident scene or a mission specialist facing a challenging assignment, cabin connectivity that is fast, reliable and always available is the new norm. Regardless of your helicopter type or mission, Honeywell has a satellite communications system that will meet your needs. For example, Aspire 200 features the first high data-rate solution to address the issue of rotor blade interference.

As connected aerospace continues to evolve, helicopter operators will be able to experience even greater levels of connectivity with speed, reliability, and availability that will improve safety, efficiency and mission-effectiveness. Today, Honeywell offers the most complete portfolio of communications hardware, services and software solutions in the industry. Let us help you achieve your connectivity objectives.

Pat Nuanez
Sr. Offering Management Specialist (HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring Systems)
Pat is an original Sperry employee who began his career as an Electronics Technician in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has held a variety of roles such as Compliance Analyst, Commodity Manager, and Buyer. His experience spans over a wide range of commodities inclusive of PWB’s, PBA’s, software licensing, test equipment, computers, electronic components, motors, services and rebranding of information technology hardware and software.

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