Honeywell Aerospace will now offer AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter owners and operators its Aspire 200 satellite communications system, marking the first high-speed wireless broadband solution enabling reliable and fast data services aboard helicopters. The AW139 is a popular option for customers looking for a VIP helicopter due to its safety record, cruise speed of 190 mph (306 kph), range of 500 nm (927 km) and seating for 6-10 passengers.
Awarded a supplemental type certificate (STC) by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Aspire 200 system enables helicopters to utilize SwiftBroadband. The Aspire 200 with the High Data Rate (HDR) software upgrade is faster than any other helicopter connectivity system in the market today, supporting voice and streaming data rates up to 650kbps.
In the past, the helicopter’s rotor blades would interfere and block satellite communications signals to the helicopter. The Aspire 200 and HDR software address this problem using a proprietary Long Burst Interleaver. The software backbone of the system penetrates the aircraft’s rotor washes to bring high-speed data services to the helicopter. It significantly improves data communications for the commercial helicopter market and critical missions such as search and rescue and oil and gas.
“The Aspire 200 High Data Rate solution can transmit more data, faster, than any other L-band system on the market, creating a cost-effective, lightweight and highly capable system for helicopter operators,” said Tom Hart, vice president, Defense and Space, Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell already provides leading avionics for helicopters, and the new high-speed data transfer capabilities will complement our existing onboard technology and further enhance the safety and operational efficiency for operators.”
The Honeywell-owned STC will benefit owners and operators of AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters by providing previously unattainable high-speed data connectivity through a cost-effective, lightweight satellite communications system. It also simplifies the path for other helicopter types to obtain STC in the future. Honeywell worked with Safran Engineering Services and Pro Star Aviation on the STC.