Thales and StandardAero achieve world’s first four-axis autopilot test flight for Airbus AS350 and H125 helicopters

Thales and Standard Aero StandardAero have announced the successful first flight test of a revolutionary compact autopilot system for the Airbus AS350 and H125 helicopter. This is a key milestone which lays the groundwork for this critical phase of the Supplemental Type Certification (STC) process and the launch of this unique autopilot solution to the light helicopter market by the middle of 2021.

Flight testing will continue throughout this winter at StandardAero’s Langley, British Columbia, Canada facility, and WeatherTech, the well-known automotive accessories company, will be its launch customer.  The Autopilot will initially be certified for installation on both the Airbus AS350 and H125 helicopter platforms.

“The launch of this flight test program is a key milestone for StandardAero and Thales.  This product combines Thales’ Autopilot experience, based on billions of flight hours accumulated and outstanding customer satisfaction, with StandardAero’s extensive aftermarket capabilities in aircraft modification and certification.  We aim to bring a user-friendly solution offering an unparalleled level of safety and reliability to the light helicopter market,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, Thales Vice-President of Flight Avionics activities.

The Thales/StandardAero compact autopilot is an intuitive automatic flight control system on the AS350/H125 that increases safety by reducing pilot workload.  It provides stability augmentation, attitude retention and flight director modes such as altitude or heading hold.

“This state-of-the-art, four-axis autopilot system has been designed as a straightforward retrofit and provides pilots with simplified operation that will help reduce wear and tear on the helicopter while making flying in normal and adverse conditions much easier and safer for the crew and passengers,” said Elvis Moniz, Vice President of Product Development for StandardAero’s Helicopters business unit, adding: “Moreover, with the increase in EMS flying and recent CFIT related helicopter accidents, anything that can help pilots navigate more safely is of paramount interest.”

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