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World-Record Robinson R66 Flight Gets Helping Hand from HeliSAS


As the world’s largest maker of autopilots for airplanes and stability augmentation systems for light helicopters, Genesys Aerosystems equipment is involved with a lot of interesting and often record-setting flights. The company is proud that pilots trying to achieve the extraordinary put their trust in its systems.


something every helicopter pilot dreads and few survive – a total brownout at 7,500 feet over the Sahara Desert.


“About an hour out of Algeria, I was cruising at 115 kts at FL075 (7,500 feet) over the Sahara when quite suddenly I was engulfed in a total brownout. I’ve heard that flying a VFR helicopter in IMC is next to impossible and I quickly understood why. It was very frightening,” he said. “I tried descending to 3,000 feet, but that made no difference in visibility. But it did get a lot hotter. The OAT read 35 degrees Centigrade (95º F). On top of that I had lost radio contact with Algiers controllers. I had to rely on relays with other aircraft. After nearly two hours of near zero visibility and stress, the haze finally lightened up.”


One such aerial adventurer is Peter Wilson, who recently completed the second of two world record-worthy flights in his Robinson R66 light helicopter. On his first record- setting flight, a 16,600-nautical-mile single- pilot trip around Africa, Wilson experienced


After an uneventful landing in central Niger, Wilson said he learned a lot from this harrowing inadvertent trip into IMC experience and promised himself to do something about it before he started out on his next adventure – an around-the- world R66 flight with fellow pilot Matthew Gallagher. What he did was install a Genesys Aerosystems Helicopter Autopilot


ASU Obtains NVIS Transport Canada STC on AS350


Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) recently received notice from Transport


Canada that it has been approved for the supplemental type certificate (STC) on the Airbus AS350. ASU modified the AS350 for HNZ Topflight. The modification was ASU’s 208th on this airframe globally.


“HNZ Topflight provides advanced helicopter training that supports their company operations across Canada as well as military, police and commercial customers around the world,” ASU Quality Assurance Manager James Haney said. “Working with Transport Canada, we were able to modify the aircraft, obtain the STC and get the aircraft back in operation as soon as possible. Knowing that HNZ Topflight is training some of the world’s elite pilots to save lives around the world, and that we helped them to be able to train them for nighttime operations, means a lot to all of us at ASU.”


HNZ Topflight’s aircraft that ASU modified for ANVIS is used for police recurrent training programs and military night vision goggles (NVGs) mountain course training. HNZ Topflight is an advanced helicopter


and Stability (HeliSAS).


Augmentation System


“During our successful around-the-world record flight, the autopilot made all the difference. It reduced workload and increased the safety margins,” Wilson stated. “Matthew and I experienced IMC


conditions a number of times


including another encounter with desert haze crossing Saudi Arabia, thick haze/ smoggy conditions in Dhaka, Chittagong, Manila and Kaohsiung and rain in Malaysia, Indonesia, Western Canada, and the Faroe Islands.”


“We also used it during the VFR portions of the flight,” he said. “It allowed Matthew or me to let go of the cyclic for periods to rest, use the Delorme Iridium communication system or just take some good pictures


of the scenery.” After


completing the 121-day, 32,000-nm, eastbound circumnavigation of the globe, Peter said that the balance to strike when flying safely is to always fly within your personal limits and not those of the autopilot system.


flight training school specializing in mountain flight training, recurrent emergency, initial and advanced helicopter courses. HNZ Topflight is considered one of the best helicopter mountain flying schools in the world and has been in operation training military, police, commercial, and private operators since 1951. HNZ Topflight is endorsed by Airbus Helicopters and Bell Helicopter and has 67 years of accident- free mountain flight training. All training is conducted at its facility in Penticton, BC, Canada.


“HNZ Topflight’s student pilots come from around the world,” HNZ Topflight General Manager Dave Schwartzenberger said. “These students are taught safe mountain techniques and procedures focusing on terrain airflow and power management essential for safe flying. HNZ’s recurrent training course for police includes emergencies to touchdown including touchdown autorotations on NVGs.”


“ASU is pleased to have been selected by HNZ for the NVIS conversion of their AS350,” ASU President Jim Winkel added. “We congratulate HNZ Topflight for the commitment they have made to provide excellent training for aircrew. ASU remains committed to our customers and partners around the globe, as they safely operate aircraft – during the day and at night – in increasingly austere environments.”


Want to see your news here? • Email it to the Editor-in-Chief: lyn.burks@rotorcraftpro.com


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