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Fri, Mar 08, 2013

FAA Approves Bristow Group ADS-B Out Solution In Sikorsky S-76 Helicopters

System Based Around FreeFlight Systems' GPS/WAAS Sensor

The FAA has granted an STC for a rule-compliant 1090 MHz extended squitter (1090ES) ADS-B Out system for Sikorsky S-76C+ and S-76C++ helicopters to helicopter service provider Bristow Group. The STC includes a FreeFlight Systems 1201 GPS/WAAS sensor as the high-integrity position source integrated with a Mode S transponder.

The STC is part of Bristow U.S. LLC’s ongoing installation of ADS-B avionics in advance of a Jan. 1, 2020 FAA deadline for all U.S. aircraft to be equipped with certified 1090ES or 978 MHz Universal Access Transmitter (UAT) ADS-B Out systems. Bristow and FreeFlight Systems earlier this year implemented an STC for a rule-compliant 978 MHz UAT solution, equipping AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters operating in the Gulf of Mexico with the FreeFlight Systems RANGR FDL-978TX system. The 12-passenger, twin turbine-engine Sikorsky S-76 is a mainstay of the Bristow fleet with more than 90 in operation worldwide.

Bristow operates S-76, AW139 and other helicopters from seven facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, servicing 3,400 production platforms and approximately 100 drilling rigs. Equipping helicopters with ADS-B in the Gulf of Mexico can dramatically increase the efficiency of flights with more direct, point-to-point routing. By contrast, aircraft not equipped for ADS-B Out in IFR conditions must manually report their position within a vast airspace grid, often resulting in longer flights. The FreeFlight 1201 GPS/WAAS Sensor provides position, velocity, and time data to the transponder and other compatible avionics. Small, lightweight and easily installed, the 1201 meets ADS-B position source requirements worldwide.

“Our work with Bristow’s avionics experts on the AW139 and now the S-76 show how our ADS-B systems can be integrated readily with a variety of airframes and complex avionics packages,” said Tim Taylor, CEO of FreeFlight Systems. “Helicopter operators in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere now can begin to equip their aircraft for ADS-B not only to comply with the FAA mandate but also to gain the multiple operational benefits of the technology and the NextGen airspace system.” “Developing ADS-B certifications with FreeFlight Systems is part of our unending commitment to our customers to provide the best in comfortable, reliable and efficient offshore air transport services,” said James Taylor, Bristow’s Avionics Manager overseeing the installation. “The design of the systems makes the engineering and installation work fairly straightforward and simplifies future certification work on other aircraft in our fleet.”

(Image provided by FreeFlight Systems)

FMI: www.freeflightsystems.com

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