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Astronautics to provide glass cockpit solution for Erickson’s S-64 Air Crane helicopters

Astronautics Press Release | February 26, 2024

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 45 seconds.

Astronautics Corporation of America has been selected by Erickson Incorporated to upgrade 12 S-64 Air Crane helicopters with a glass cockpit solution that includes Astronautics’ Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 integrated flight display system, engine data concentrator unit (EDCU), and AeroSync Mission connectivity system.

Astronautics will also be responsible for the avionics systems integration testing and functional verification for this upgrade. 

Erickson and its OEM customers own and operate a global fleet of 35 S-64 Air Crane helicopters. As part of the first phase of this retrofit program, Astronautics will tailor its display flight application software per Erickson requirement and will provide Erickson 12 system shipsets.

Each shipset consists of a system that includes five Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 smart displays, a dual-redundant EDCU, and an AeroSync Mission connectivity system.   

The Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 is the latest generation of Astronautics’ family of Badger 6 x 8-inch smart multifunction displays (MFDs).

The integrated system shows primary flight, navigation, engine, and mission data, while integrating key data from all the subsystems on the aircraft. Highlights of the system include superior readability, versatile high-resolution video, night vision compatibility, and proven exceptional reliability. 

Astronautics is customizing its Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 system to enhance situational awareness for the S-64 Air Crane helicopter pilots related to the specific missions they fly.  The upgrade includes mission display pages that indicate the status of onboard systems such as the retardant tank, hoist & pendant, and video from the enhanced vision system cameras.

Astronautics’ AeroSync Mission is a lightweight connectivity system for data collection, storage, and export, along with broadband connectivity. AeroSync collects avionics data during flight and can wirelessly provide that information to a tablet or ground server post-flight to enable improved planning for aircraft maintenance.

In certain configurations, the system may also operate as an internet hotspot providing in-flight connectivity.  

For this upgrade program, Astronautics will also integrate its avionics and connectivity systems with Erickson-provided equipment prior to aircraft installation and flight test.  The new subsystems will include: flight management system, radio communications, air-data, attitude and heading reference system (AHARS), radar altimeter, radio navigation, audio, and standby flight instrument.

To ensure a smooth implementation on the platform, Astronautics will perform avionics software verification and integrated system testing at its onsite system integration lab (SIL) prior to Erickson’s installation of the new avionics on the helicopter. 

“We are excited to support Erickson with our proven expertise as a systems integrator and provide a collaborative solution that will upgrade their S-64 Air Crane helicopter with a glass cockpit to enhance their pilots’ situational awareness while flying demanding construction, logging, and firefighting missions,” said Eytan Saletsky, Astronautics’ director of integrated systems solutions.  “By listening to our customer’s challenges, we are able to design a custom solution, including MFD symbology combined with sensor video to address the specific needs of the flight crew operating S-64 Air Crane helicopters for complex missions.”  

Program development phase has begun and is expected to enter its verification phase in spring of 2025.  

For more information on Astronautics’ avionics, connectivity, and systems integration solutions, contact their business development team at BusDev@astronautics.com, or visit them at HAI Heli-Expo 2024, Booth 2322, February 27-29, in Anaheim, California. 

This press release was prepared and distributed by Astronautics.

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