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Interesting Equipment

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Good Afternoon All,


On a recent "business" trip to Texas, I had the opportunity to climb all over an American Apache Longbow attack helicopter. I'm sure we are all aware of the stigma this machine has as a "high-speed low-drag" top of the line fighting machine, with all the bells and whistles a pilot could want. Personally I had taken this opinion with a grain of salt, citing propaganda and politics as a major contributor and I had voiced this opinion from time to time. I was wrong. Aside from the obvious "anti-taliban" equipment, this aircraft offers two major features that I feel would be invaluable to civilian pilots like us. First and foremost, the current mod of the longbow has two odd looking probes originating at the top of each engine nacelle. (This picture should give you an idea of what I'm talking about http://www.aeronautics.ru/img003/ah-64d-longbow02.jpg ) These probes are actually pitot tubes attached to an odd looking windvane / windsock type device on a swivel. This device will measure wind speed and direction regardless of flight conditions and display the data on one of the displays inside the aircraft. Has anyone ever seen a contraption like this on a civilian aircraft? Personally, I can see this being a handy, if not lifesaving device for bush pilots. The other impressive piece of kit the apache has is rather simple as well. On the right hand side of the cockpit there is a slot for a PCMCIA hard drive. Once you insert the hard drive you can call up the information on one of the two Multi-Function-Displays (MFD's). Military pilots can use this to store maps and target information, recon photo's etc. With the low cost of in-car flat screen TV's and the such, a simliar device could be added to an aircraft with relative ease. Of course the ensuing moral debate about having a computer in an aircraft that already has too much to keep track of would be unending, it would be a valuable resource for storing pertinent information regarding LZ's, fuel locations etc. Perhaps the computer would be better suited for dual crew aircraft like the S76. Any thoughts?

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