Glass eye

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Cobham’s synthetic-vision glass cockpit for use in a Bell 412 helicopter.


The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Cobham’s synthetic-vision glass cockpit for helicopter use.


Traditional cockpits rely on mechanical gauges to display information.


A glass cockpit, on the other hand, uses several computerised displays to relay flight information.


The new synthetic-vision cockpit, from global defence-systems specialist Cobham, based in Dorset, has been FAA-approved for single-pilot IFR operation of the Bell 412 helicopter.


This marks the world’s first IFR approval for a synthetic-vision system in a helicopter.


The search and rescue unit of North Slope Borough, Alaska will be the first customer to have Cobham’s electronic flight-instrument system (EFIS) installed on a 412.


Arrow Aviation, a helicopter-maintenance provider based in Louisiana in the US, was selected for installing Cobham’s EFIS.


The North Slope Borough 412 performs medevac, search and rescue, and emergency missions in Alaska’s North Slope.


The Bell 412 will work across diverse coastal and inland topography, using the synthetic-vision 3D graphic technology to translate the terrain ahead of and around the helicopter into an intuitive, real-time visual picture, helping the pilot ‘see’ the aircraft’s position in relation to its surroundings, regardless of darkness or weather conditions.


The display is designed to reduce instrument scanning and pilot fatigue by consolidating readings of all primary flight instruments into one efficient tool, resulting in a dramatically reduced pilot workload and safer execution of flight plans and procedures.