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RCP0110_006-012_Hangar Talk 2/9/10 5:03 AM Page 6
HANGAR TALK
PHI, Inc. First Ever to Conduct Helicopter Flights Across
Gulf of Mexico Using ADS-B Technology
In a historic announcement with the
FAA, PHI, Inc. announced that it is the
first and only helicopter operator in the
world to conduct ADS-B flights over the
Gulf of Mexico. On December 17, 2009,
at 7:32 a.m., PHI completed the first ever
IFR Controlled Helicopter flight over the
Gulf of Mexico using ADS-B Technology.
This marked a groundbreaking flight for
PHI and the FAA.
As part of the FAA’s next generation of
air traffic control technology, ADS-B (the
acronym for Automatic Dependent Sur-
veillance - Broadcast) will provide a safer
flight environment for helicopters flying
in the Gulf of Mexico and dramatically im-
prove the efficiency of air traffic control.
For the first time in the 60 years of heli-
copter operations over the Gulf, the FAA
will be able to see aircraft in real time and
provide improved separation services for
ADS-B equipped aircraft.
“Being the first to conduct ADS-B
flights over the Gulf of Mexico is a his-
toric achievement and one in which we are
proud to have been able to work so closely
with the FAA,” explained Lance Bospflug,
Chief Operating Officer PHI Inc. “We
have long prided our company on its abil-
ity to not only be among the first to adopt
new technology, but to work in a collabo-
rative way to ensure that technology is em-
(L – R) Ricky Labit, Director of Avionics, PHI, Inc., Mike Hurst, Chief Pilot, PHI, Inc., FAA
braced and properly implemented across Administrator Randy Babbit, Matt Zuccaro, President & COO, Helicopter Association International
our industry. We are truly honored to have
been able to so closely collaborate with the ogy allows Air Traffic Controllers to “see” lays. And in general, it provides improved
FAA, our customers and others to make and separate PHI’s aircraft from other safety by having another set of eyes pro-
this happen on this ambitious timeline. It is properly equipped aircraft over the Gulf viding separation services to the aircraft
a tribute to the level of professionalism and of Mexico; something that wasn’t possi- and its passengers.
resolve of our people.” ble before ADS-B. An added benefit to be- “As a pilot, this technology gives us yet
An ADS-B equipped aircraft automati- ing able to see aircraft is an increase in the another important safety advantage,”
cally transmits its position and other perti- number of aircraft, which Houston Center shared Captain Kevin Lawlor, a pilot at
nent information to earth based receivers, can safely control at any one time. This in- PHI. “While our pilots are among the best
which then relay this information to the crease in capacity will translate into im- and most highly trained in the world, our
FAA allowing them to provide Surveil- proved on-time performance and real advantage is the forward thinking cul-
lance Services. Over most of the US, the efficiency to those working in the Gulf. ture our company has not only committed
FAA uses radar to determine aircraft posi- ADS-B services will improve fuel effi- to, but invested in around the safety of our
tion and separate aircraft. Challenges pre- ciency and limit flight times by allowing crews and passengers. We are all extraor-
sented by large bodies of water such as the aircraft to fly in a straight line to their des- dinarily proud of yet another first for our
Gulf of Mexico prevent installation and tination instead of following a “checker company.”
use of radar. ADS-B receivers are rela- board” pattern currently in use over the
tively small and easy to install and main- Gulf. ADS-B will increase the FAA’s ca-
Historical Perspective
tain when compared to radar. pacity to handle aircraft during weather On September 2, 2007, PHI and other
The implementation of ADS-B technol- days resulting in a reduction in takeoff de- Continued on page 8
6 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • January 2010
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