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FAA certifies new StableLight 4-axis autopilot from Thales and StandardAero

Thales and StandardAero Press Release | November 20, 2023

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 42 seconds.

This autopilot system significantly reduces pilot workload, improves mission capability and can help reduce risk in critical flight phases, the companies said. Thales Photo

Thales and StandardAero have announced the StableLight autopilot has been granted a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This true four-axis autopilot system is now available for retrofit on Airbus H125 helicopter platforms.

This system significantly reduces pilot workload, improves mission capability and can help reduce risk in critical flight phases, the companies said.

Based on Thales’ Compact Autopilot System, derived from its previously certified transport category autopilot, StableLight is a robust, feature-packed autopilot in a compact, lightweight package that is perfectly suited for light rotorcraft.

The system transforms the flight control experience of the helicopter with transparent stability augmentation that works precisely and without feedback to the control sticks.

The addition of the stabilized climb flight attitude recovery, auto hover, and a wide range of other sophisticated features, results in a system that drastically decreases pilot workload, enhances mission capability, and can help to reduce risks in critical flight phases and adverse conditions such as Inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC).

“Tailoring the most advanced technologies to offer safety and trust to our clients is at the very heart of Thales’ DNA. Combining Thales’ advanced capabilities with StandardAero’s extensive knowledge allows us to draw upon a wealth of industry experience and deliver the autopilot solution that pilots have long aspired to,” Tristan Grivel, vice president, Business Development and Sales, for Thales’s flight avionics business.

“We are excited to bring this state-of-the-art autopilot to market in partnership with Thales. The features offered by StableLight will be a major game changer for pilots and operators alike – it provides unparalleled performance, taking the already capable AS350 and H125 aircraft to the next level. Today’s announcement of the certification of StableLight paves the way for a safety revolution for light helicopters,” Marc Drobny, president of StandardAero’s military, helicopter and energy sector.

Pilots representing numerous operators and industry experts were able to test fly the pre- certified system over the last year and were extremely encouraged by the system’s performance and contribution to safety. Many commented on the system’s impressive capabilities and noted its potential to assist in a wide variety of missions.

Based on the high level of customer interest to date, Thales and StandardAero are spooling up to meet the demand for kit deliveries, with the first kits reserved for the VIP launch customer MacNeil Aviation LLC.

Both European Union Aviation Safety Agency and Transport Canada validations of the STC are being applied for subsequently. Click here to view the StableLight Autopilot in action.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Thales and StandardAero.

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