Safe Flight Instrument Corp. has made a name for itself over the last seven decades by producing extremely simple and effective safety devices for aircraft. This week at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Florida, the company unveiled two new products that absolutely fit the bill for this approach.
Flying had the chance to check out both, one of which is a new digital powerline detector for helicopters that works in both 50 Hz and 60 Hz frequency ranges (the standards internationally and in the United States) and the second of which is an icing detector that continuously scans for dangerous conditions in flight.
I received a flight demonstration of the powerline detector in Safe Flight's Bell 206 with Andrew Hayden, owner of Yalesville, Connecticut-based Air Ocean Aviation, which operates the helicopter on behalf of the company.
We departed from the Peabody Heliport near the Orange County Convention Center and headed southeast to an area of powerlines, where Hayden pointed the helicopter directly at the wires. As we flew closer, a red warning light illuminated in the cockpit and a clicking sound could be heard through the headset. We approached the wires from varying angles and heights and the system worked flawlessly every time. The system detects powerlines using a low-frequency receiver and small wire antenna attached the rear of the helicopter.
The other new safety system is a compact icing detector that uses optical sensors and a temperature probe to scan for the presence of moisture in the air. If conditions are ripe for icing, the device warns the pilot. Appropriately, Safe Flight officially launched the product for the NBAA Convention audience at the Minus 5 ice bar on International Drive near Orlando's Orange County Convention Center.
If you're in the neighborhood, demonstrations of both products are being given at Safe Flight's NBAA Convention booth.
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