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Heli-Expo 2017: Acehawk breaks cover (video)

9th March 2017 - 16:17 GMT | by Tony Skinner, Helen Haxell in Dallas

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Judging by the aircraft on the show floor, Heli-Expo 2017 could almost be mistaken for a military exhibition, given the number of ex-US Army UH-60A/L Black Hawks on display.

Among those previously revealed is a new contender – the Acehawk from Global Aviation Solutions (GAS), which is equipped with the Garmin G5000H-based avionics suite and Avalex Technologies cockpit management unit (CMU).

The company claims the Acehawk is the 'only day/night VFR/IFR, NextGen/Single European Sky compliant solution available on the market today for UH-60A/Ls and S-70s'.

Darrell Kindley, CEO of Global Aviation Solutions, told Shephard the platform on display at Heli-Expo was the first installation of the Acehawk kit, with an STC expected to be gained by the second quarter of 2018.

'At this show we are introducing one of our product lines we call the Acehawk. The Acehawk is a retrofit kit available for UH-60A/Ls and S-70 aircraft. We are marketing that all over the world to various countries and also domestically here in the United States, for some users here locally,' Kindley said.

'We also have the ability to offer refurbished aircraft we have purchased from the US Army as they are divesting some 800 UH-60As. They have placed around 140 or so to date and we as a company own a few of those. And we are currently using those as company-owned test platforms for product development, testing and certification.'

The Acehawk cockpit features four 12-inch, 4K displays and two touchscreen controllers; Panoramic View and Synthetic Vision Technology; and the option to integrate third party radios, sensors and other mission equipment without affecting the G5000H core software.

In addition, GAS in October 2016 was issued with a Restricted Category Type Certificate (RCTC) for the UH-60A by the FAA, allowing the company to offer the aircraft as an option to US and international customers.

'If the customer wants a zero-houred airframe solution, we also have that ability – we can take the UH-60A and do a complete recapitalisation of the airframe, convert it to an L with new engines, new transmission and all new dynamic components and everything would have over 95% useful life remaining,' Kindley explained.

Huntsville, Alabama-based GAS was established specifically to develop cockpit upgrades and major modifications for the Black Hawk family.

Hanger operations for GAS are located in Guntersville, Alabama at the Guntersville Municipal Airport, where the company recently expanded operations with the construction of two new 12,000 square foot hangers.

At Heli-Expo the company is joined by several other companies offering various solutions involving refurbished UH-60A/Ls, including Rogerson Kratos, BHI² and United Technologies.

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