StandardAero, December 10, 2019 - SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – StandardAero and Thales announced a signed teaming agreement formalizing a mutual commitment for developing and certifying an advanced autopilot system for the light helicopter market.
The system will initially be certified for installation on the popular Airbus Helicopters AS350 platform.
Based on extensive autopilot experience, Thales has incorporated the features and safety design architecture usually found in multi-engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) helicopters into its Compact Autopilot, now available to light helicopter platforms. Thales is offering a lightweight four-axis solution that enables permanent aircraft stabilization, eliminating the traditional dedicated flight control computer.
The autopilot can also fully control the helicopter from initial hover to coupled approach and position-hold.
StandardAero brings its extensive and proven aftermarket experience in aircraft modifications and supplemental certification capabilities to the AS350 Compact Autopilot product. The company’s extensive engineering and certification knowledge serves to ensure the fielded solution will far exceed the basic certification requirements and will satisfy operators’ exacting expectations for system operation, airframe integration, simplified maintenance and product support.
“Our Compact Autopilot solution capitalizes on the proven levels of safety and reliability that are already deployed on larger air transport platforms. We will use this technology and experience as the basis for a cutting-edge, timely solution, bringing light helicopters into a new era,” said Christian Bardot, Thales Vice-President in charge of Helicopter Avionics business
“As part of our ongoing SAFECRAFT program, offering this state-of-the-art compact autopilot allows us to press forward in our aggressive pursuit of certifying innovative, transformational safety technologies that address many of the most common concerns our customers face, such as pilot fatigue and entry into inadvertent IMC conditions that can often result in LOC-I and CFIT situations.
These risks are well known throughout the industry by owners, operators and the pilots flying these machines, yet until now, we haven’t had the right technology available for this segment to adequately address the threat head on. That all changes today,” added Elvis Moniz, StandardAero Vice President of Business Development for Airframes and Avionics Solutions.
Through StandardAero’s diverse aftermarket expertise and Thales’s proven avionics solutions, the two companies will deliver to the marketplace the most cost-effective and capable 4-axis autopilot system for the AS350 series, featuring a sophisticated design that includes customer-driven, inherent capabilities that significantly optimize performance and improve safety.
About StandardAero: StandardAero is one of the world's largest independent providers of services including engine and airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul, engine component repair, engineering services, interior completions and paint applications. StandardAero serves a diverse array of customers in business and general aviation, airline, military, helicopter, components and energy markets.
StandardAero is owned by The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG), a global investment firm with deep industry expertise that deploys private capital across four business segments: Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Credit and Investment Solutions. With $216 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2018, Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of our investors, portfolio companies and the communities in which we live and invest.
StandardAero has long experience doing conversion of existing AS350 BA aircraft to AS350 B2 standards, offering increased gross weight, improved hot & high performance, greater power margins for increased safety, and reduced pilot workload
Launch customer for AS350 Avanced autopilot system
Thales, January 28, 2020 - StandardAero and Thales have announced WeatherTech as the launch customer for their advanced 4-axis Compact Autopilot System for the Airbus Helicopters H125/AS350 platform.
Derived from certified transport category solutions, the Lightweight Compact Autopilot brings advanced, state-of-the-art 4-axis capability, performance and enhanced levels of safety to the light helicopter market, while eliminating the need for a traditional dedicated flight control computer. David MacNeil, Founder and CEO of the well-known automotive accessories company WeatherTech, has decided once again to confer his aircraft upgrades to StandardAero by selecting Thales Compact autopilot for his fleet.
“I have been pleased with the support received from StandardAero in modifying our H125 helicopters, and as we look to make additional safety and avionics upgrades to enhance these machines, the decision to include the Thales unique Compact Autopilot technology was an easy one to make,” said MacNeil.
StandardAero’s and Thales’ world-class engineering and Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) design partnership team will begin ground and flight testing for the new autopilot system on these aircraft beginning in early 2020. Various equipment upgrades on each of the aircraft will allow for greater compatibility testing and eventual certification with a number of aftermarket modifications common to the popular H125 (B3e) and later model AS350 series of helicopters.
“We are happy to be working with Mr. MacNeil once again as a launch customer for the Thales 4-axis Compact Autopilot System, one of the pillars of our SAFECRAFT portfolio for the H125/AS350 series,” said Elvis Moniz, StandardAero’s Vice President of Business Development for Airframes and Avionics Solutions. “This system will not only provide unparalleled safety to the light helicopter market based on a proven robust design developed and fielded by global technology leader, Thales, but it will also provide a truly modern solution with a smooth ride quality and advanced functionality that our business and private aviation customers desire.”
The AS350/H125 upgraded glass cockpit