Robinson offers glass-cockpit helicopter avionics in move away from mechanical-only instruments

TORRANCE, Calif., 22 Feb. 2014. Light helicopter expert Robinson Helicopter Co. in Torrance, Calif., is moving away from its traditional simple mechanical helicopter avionics panels with a new line of instrument panels and avionics for the R22, R44, and R66 light helicopters.

To accommodate the new glass cockpit-style avionics, Robinson replaced its 7-, 9-, and 10-hole instrument panels with 6- and 8-hole instrument panels. The 6-hole panel is standard on the R22 and R44 Raven I while the 8-hole panel is standard on the R44 Raven II and R66. The 8-hole panel is also an option on the R44 Raven I.

Both panels allow for glass avionics or traditional instrument configurations. The new line includes, as optional equipment, the Garmin GTN 600/700 touch-screen navigators, as well as the Aspen Avionics primary flight display (PFD) and multifunction display (MFD) systems.

Related: Garmin receives FAA's first AML-STC for GPS/WAAS avionics on helicopters

Robinson specializes in simple, affordable, lightweight civil helicopters for flight training, surveillance, police operations, news gathering, and many other light helicopter applications. Company officials had resisted advanced glass cockpits out of concern for possibly compromising the company's simple and affordable design approach.

With these glass cockpit additions, the company keeps its helicopter avionics simple and effective, yet introduces modern innovations that helicopter pilots have become accustomed to. The Garmin GTR 225B COM radio, GMA 350H audio panel, GDL 88 universal access transceiver (UAT), and GTX 330ES transponder also are available.

The GTR 225B is now the standard COM radio on all models, replacing the Bendix/King KY 196A/197A. The GTR 225B and the GTN 635, 650, and 750 COMs all offer 8.33 kHz channel spacing, which satisfies impending new regulations.

Related: Army asks EADS to provide six UH-72A light utility helicopters and aircraft data radios

The GMA 350H audio panel replaces the existing AEM AA12S for dual-COM installations. The GTX 330ES (Extended Squitter) transponder meets ADS-B Out equipment requirements when paired with a GTN series navigator, and the GDL 88 UAT provides dual-band ADS-B In. The GTN series navigators are installed in Robinson’s pilot side console (PSC), placing the equipment directly in front of the pilot to minimize head-down time.

Robinson completed FAA flight tests and received approval for most of the new equipment and is in the final stages of certification for a few remaining combinations, company officials say.

For more information contact Robinson Helicopter online at www.robinsonheli.com.

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