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MMike

What Would You Spend Your Money On?

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When I said "old curmudgeon" my tongue was firmly in my cheek.

 

The general vibe was that avionics is not THAT important....relatively speaking.(which is what I figured in the first place). So I was wondering if that general vibe had anything to do with the fact that experience level seems to be largely high among the responders. "I've never needed it before, I don't need it now." Does that factor into the opinion? Sort of like how my dad doesn't believe in calculators....slide rule all the way. But I couldn't use a slide rule if you put a gun to my head.

 

But if you asked a room full of 25 year-old HEMS pilots (assuming they exist), would they be crippled without full displays in front of them.

 

And if you are implying that I am purporting to be an expert, I assure you that is not the case. Hence my naive questions. I have had mild exposure to the industry and operators. I find it interesting. I worked at Bell for a while. And I find there is a staggering lack of understanding of the actual helicopter industry there. I've been learning about the industry now. I'm trying to fill my knowledge gap between the design and construction of helicopters, and their actual use in the real world.

 

So once again, the use of the word curmudgeon (which was in quotes) was not meant to be an attack......

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Here's my spin on this. We have so much gee whiz stuff installed, we finally ran out of room in a 407. There is zero space for ANYTHING. What drove this was people going to trade shows and coming home with all the new great ideas. We have stuff installed that half the people here don't know how to operate!

 

Add to that the never ending ICA requirements and support from some of the companies that make the "gee whiz" had to have it stuff, sucks.

 

Two years ago things changed..finally. Maintenance and pilots got to say what goes in. New gee whiz stuff requires that something gets removed. Want satcom, fine pull out the CD player.

 

First upgrade was AFS filter, power margin jumped about 20 degrees. SWEET! New cargo hook, changed all the exterior lights to LED lights no more changing light bulbs.

 

Personally, I like to spend money on spares. As for glass cockpit, on a utility helicopter is like dressing a hooker in a prom dress. An expensive prom dress!

 

 

 

 

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It all depends on the mission, but if you're doing day VFR utility obviously you want more power. I worked for a company with all the latest in glass and GPS in their machines, some of the pilots who had become accustomed to the panel would barely look out the window and had to be reminded that that they were flying VFR. An IFR helicopter needs more glass to ease pilot workload. Along with more glass comes more expensive problems, some units cost more than the engine! Being of the old school myself, I could care less for a glass cockpit. But some people want one in their R44?, talk about dressing up a hooker :).

 

P.S. how many a/c's are still flying around with a GPS100 or similar in the rack? just take all that crap out and you'll gain another 20lbs.

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There are some advantages to glass cockpits, like all kinds of excedence alerting, they make numbers easier to see for old timers and usually they lighten up the cockpit although most vfr machines seem to be light in the nose anyway. I'l throw some numbers out for a jetranger since those are the only ones i really know. The sagem glass displays are about 50 thousand each for 206 and most machines need at least two of them...thats about the same as a set of bran new rotor blades from bell or you could get the strake kit, those new tail rotor blades and a brand new interior/exterior paintjob for probably cheaper. For me it would be a no brainer. If I had all the money in the world though, or they were much cheaper I think they would be nice to have.

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You asked regarding Day VFR...

 

I'll keep it simple...Private or Commercial, POWER/LIFT makes the world go 'round. I never flew IFR or Night VFR but I reckon that if you can't see outside, the more "glass" the better...if you spend the time to learn it that is. But always remember that the more power you have in reserve could very well be abused...214 and FX2 come to mind. In which case you can spend a little less on avionics and a little bit on a tattle tale to go along with the power factor.

 

Zazu

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Well that brings up another thing I was wondering.....will big contracts start requiring this stuff? Like for example (likely a bad example.....but just say hypothetically), would US forest service start requiring aircraft to be outfitted with glass displays for safety reasons? You would think the USFS contracts would be all about lift and zero about displays. But I think the big gov't contracts are becoming increasingly safety conscious, aren't they?

 

So I guess it is conceivable that sometime down the road, operator will have to upgrade some avionics if they want to land big contracts?

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Well reading the article on Vertical about the Day Aviation Eagle Single, they got the full blown Sagem glass cockpit.....which is not standard in the Single.

 

I assume they are using the aircraft for utility work n'est-ce pas? why do you figure they went for it?

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I imagine for IFR flying a glass cockpit can have advantages in safety given the pilot is trained properly in its use. I see no need for them in a VFR environment when your eyes should be outside the aircraft anyway.

 

Here's a picture of the panel in a New Cessna 172, I think it would take more mental resources to learn and operate the avionics than to fly the dam airplane.

 

 

post-1295-1286070622_thumb.jpg

 

 

Give me Power and Lift with the old steam gauges and portable GPS any day.

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Ok....so somewhat related to Ronny Rotor's 407 thread.....should the 407HP have a whole bunch of new avionics, or just the engine upgrade? Obviously it would cost. But I think that engine has a fancy-pants digital FADEC that won't talk to the old analog gauges...so maybe there's no choice....

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