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New OWGS Prevents Power Line Collisions Posted in: | January 15 , 2014 at 9:28 am, by super | No Comments
NobileSoft, a software company created by a helicopter pilot, has joined forces with independent research company Sintef to bring to market a new GPS-based powerline warning system for low-flying aircraft. Collisions often occur when aircraft fly at low levels on power- or pipeline patrols. The Norwegian companies hope their new obstacle warning GPS system (OWGS) will soon replace the orange balls used as the mainstay method of alerting pilots to power line hazards. Those orange balls are often ineffective at night or in poor weather. The GPS solution would operate independent of weather conditions. Sintef said in a news release that the steps needed to bring a commercial version of OWGS to market include “the acquisition, quality assurance and distribution of all the data now in the possession of the various ‘power grid owners’ distributed across Norway.” NobileSoft believes this data, relating to geographical position, cables and their heights, is often inaccurate. Creating an accurate database is the key to the success of OWGS, it said.

Demand Grows For Oil Rig Approach System Posted in: | January 15 , 2014 at 9:24 am, by super | No Comments
Sikorsky and PHI Helicopters, co-developers of the new rig approach software for the S-92’s flight control computer, said they have recently gained new customers for the approach automation product. Half of PHI’s 28 S-92s already has the rig approach installed, and the remainder of the U.S. operator’s fleet is scheduled for the upgrade. Rig approach gives the 26,000-pound helicopter a coupled-approach option, as well as automated departure capability to and from oil rigs in bad weather. S-92 pilots normally hand-fly oil rig approaches that can require as many as 17 separate decisions or actions inside the final approach fix. Rig approach not only flies the approach but also reduces the number of pilot decisions to seven, leaving more time for the pilots to identify the rig when they break out of the clouds. For PHI, rig approach has improved safety through increased situational awareness. That has also meant increased reliability as the helicopter can approach any rig down to 200 feet and one-half-mile weather minimums. “Market response to the rig approach is very strong,” a Sikorsky spokesman told AIN. “Four major offshore oil fleet operators have contracted for some or all of their fleets.” Sikorsky declined to identify the new customers. Rig approach is an available option on new S-92s and as a retrofit item on aircraft already flying.