Technisonic: Flying the industry forward

Avatar for Ben ForrestBen Forrest | June 29, 2022

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 13 seconds.

Any helicopter operator will tell you change is inevitable. It’s one of the few things we can be sure of in an industry that is always on the cusp of something exciting, invigorating, challenging, and new.
But many operators would also acknowledge that not all change is progress — and achieving progress requires a commitment to continuously improve knowledge, skills, and life-saving tools.

The team at Technisonic, an industry-leading provider of airborne radios and audio panels, has embraced this mentality wholeheartedly, with a deeply rooted commitment to continuous improvement that is felt throughout its dedicated team of expert designers and technicians.

“As a company, we’re always trying to improve our products,” said Jim Huddock, director of federal, military, and original equipment manufacturer sales and programs at Technisonic. “We’re always trying to make the experience better for our customers.”

A key example of the company’s commitment to continuous improvement is the new Technisonic TDAP-650 audio panel, launched at HAI Heli-Expo 2022. This innovative product is a digital update to the analogue TDAP-611 audio panel, which has been a mainstay in light mission helicopters for the last four years.

The TDAP-650 improves on its predecessor by delivering a digital connection between the TDFM-9000 series radio and the audio panel. It enables microphone audio, mic, push-to-talk set-ups, and several other functions to be controlled digitally at the radio — a level of integration that Huddock said may be an industry first.

“Field support and installation is greatly improved, because there is [essentially] no programming,” Huddock said. “You can swap out that audio panel and reprogram it in moments. And the other big piece of it is both the installation time and the weight aspect. Audio panels usually require a lot of wiring, with as many as 50 wires coming to an audio panel. This requires two wires.”

The TDAP-650 fits any helicopter cockpit, but it was designed for platforms like the Bell 407, Bell 429, and Airbus Helicopters H125 and EC145.
“If they’re already getting a TDFM radio, this makes it an easy decision as far as the audio panel goes,” Huddock said. “The two are made for each other, literally.”

“We’re excited about it, because it’s something we’ve been working toward — to help pull together a mission comms package that’s meant to operate together,” Huddock said. “I think we’re the first ones in the special mission radio space to do that — to provide something that’s been built hand-in-hand for each other, to operate at its optimum capability.”

Technisonic’s commitment to continuous improvement is also evident in TDFM series radios, and specifically the TDFM-136B — a Project 25 United States Forest Service-compliant airborne VHF/FM transceiver.
The TDFM-136B is a workhorse product that is often pushed to its limits during operations, and Technisonic has extensively upgraded it over the last 18 months. Designers have made the radio more heat resistant and added a warning system that flashes when the radio is in danger of overheating or other operational anomalies.

It also has automatic logging software that can be used for post-flight analysis and troubleshooting if the unit experiences a problem. All of this is a response to feedback from operators who use Technisonic products, and it exemplifies the company’s client-centric approach to continuous improvement.

“We’ve been looking at how to make the radio better,” Huddock said. “We look at this as a long-term relationship with our customer. They’re going to have this radio for 10 years or more. So, the sale of the radio is really just the first step in the relationship.”

Although continuous improvement is a core principle at Technisonic, another company hallmark is longevity. All Technisonic products are built to last, and software updates are entirely optional. As a result, Technisonic has had products in the field that have remained in service for more than a decade.

“Our goal is not to sell a radio,” Huddock said. “Our goal is always to support the specific need of the customer, and to build a relationship with the customer around their need. Anybody can sell a radio, but it’s what comes after that sale that builds the value. We are going to do our best to support that customer for the long run. That’s where we differentiate ourselves.”
Technisonic also has a remarkably low turnover rate among its staff, with multiple employees who have been with the company for more than 25 years.
“I’m still the ‘new guy’ at 11 years now,” Huddock said. “So, when they buy a Technisonic product, they are not buying what was done yesterday. There is a history with these guys. There’s a history in the product, and there’s a history in our support and how we treat our customers.”

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