Paris-based operator Trans Helicopter Service (THS) had its twin-engine Eurocopter AS 355 Ecureuil II available at EBACE 2007 for demo flights of Safe Flight’s helicopter powerline detection system (PDS). The system had just been awarded certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the AS 355. THS conducted the certification work on behalf of Safe Flight, based in White Plains, New York.
The system senses radiating electromagnetic fields from live wires and warns pilots about them. An audio warning increases in frequency, like a Geiger counter, as the helicopter gets closer to the line. A red warning light illuminates simultaneously in the cockpit. The PDS is said to weigh less than one pound.
THS and Safe Flight are now applying for certification on the Eurocopter AS 350 series–the single-engine Ecureuil–for which EASA approval is expected by the end of next month.