Thales Instrumentation Offers 'Click And Fly'
The Thales TopDeck avionics suite to be installed in Sikorsky's
new S-76D helicopter will offer new "click to fly" ability based on
a concept that has never been installed on a helicopter before: the
Icube-S concept of Intuitivity, Interactivity, Integration and
Thales says TopDeck is an integrated modular avionics suite in a
glass cockpit derived from the latest technology. "The key to
enhancing safety is to optimize the crew's cognitive workload,
particularly during complex tasks," said Yves Joannic, VP
Helicopter Avionics activities of Thales Group. "TopDeck allows a
pilot flying the S-76D helicopter to directly control cockpit tasks
on his displays using an intuitive Cursor Control Device (iCCD).
This iCCD – the first of its kind on a helicopter –
puts all the functions at the pilot's fingertips, thus reducing
workload, shortening reaction time and increasing safety."
The increased reliability and safety delivered in the Thales
cockpit on the S-76D helicopter builds upon the well established
safety and reliability record of the S-76 helicopter series.
Several variations of the TopDeck avionics are currently flying
onboard the AgustaWestland A109, Boeing's Chinook, and the ATR72
from the ATR consortium.
In addition to the advanced Thales integrated avionics system
and autopilot, the S-76D helicopter's features include
all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an industry leading
external acoustic signature, health and usage monitoring system,
active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada
PW210S engines as standard equipment; and an optional Rotor Ice
Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability.
"Throughout our test flight program, the S-76D helicopter
prototypes have performed exceptionally well, with a smoothness and
ease of flight that our customers have consistently expressed great
excitement over," said Dan Hunter, Sikorsky Global Helicopter's
Director of Programs. "Our partnership with Thales on this element
of the aircraft's development has been very successful in
leveraging the inherent scalability of the TopDeck suite and
further enhancing its functional content. As with all of our
products, we expect to continue to add functionality as missions
expand and the marketplace demands new capabilities."
Over the last several months, Sikorsky has offered customers an
opportunity to fly the prototype S-76D aircraft. Greg Barnes, S-76D
Chief Program Pilot, said those who have flown it cited the
aircraft's power and performance, but also marveled at the
automatic flight control system and interactivity. "The S-76D will
offer a multitude of new capabilities in an intuitive, interactive
cockpit that is very user friendly. In essence, it is a
comprehensive cockpit that is not complex to operate. These
features will be especially valuable to operators flying in
demanding offshore oil or emergency medical missions."
Delivery of the first aircraft to the launch customer is slated