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Ruag explores unmanned technology to assist difficult landings

3rd September 2013 - 09:20 GMT | by Darren Lake in Kuala Lumpur

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Ruag is working with a large European OEM to take technology originally developed for the unmanned environment and to bring it to the manned helicopter world to assist pilots in difficult landing environments.

Speaking at the Offshore/Onshore Aviation conference in Kuala Lumpur on 2 September, David Jones, general manager Malaysia for Ruag, explained that the company was looking at how the technology could be used in environments where pilots had to land helicopters with low visual references - such as the helidecks of oil and gas platforms.

The system comprises a number of fixed or removable sensors deployed on the deck that are combined with antennas on the aircraft and either a display integrated with the existing onboard instrumentation or a tablet. The sensors report the helicopter’s position relative to the helideck or other landing area, such as the landing deck aboard a ship, via a dedicated datalink.

Jones said that the system provided a better performance than any potential comparative GPS system in the civil sector as commercially-available GPS did not give the level of accuracy needed.

The system is in the early test phase, but Jones told Shephard that it was intended to be made available to all helicopter types. The necessary antennas are a relatively simple integration. The system is currently being tested by the companies, which have already completed landings on a simulated CAP 437 helideck.

Jones said that he expected the system to be available to potential customers in the next 18 to 24 months.

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