This year’s star was the brand new Sikorsky S-76D helicopter, which was unveiled during the show. Thales’s presence put great emphasis on contributions to the S-76D in the shape of the TopDeck cockpit solution.
Speaking to AIN Online, Yves Joannic, Thales’s VP for Helicopter Avionics, noted that the TopDeck solution includes many features which “are absolute breakthroughs in helicopter avionics. TopDeck allows a pilot flying the S-76D to directly control cockpit tasks on his displays using an intuitive cursor control device [iCCD]. This iCCD – the first of its kind on a helicopter –puts all the functions at the pilot’s fingertips, thus reducing workload, shortening reaction time and increasing safety. All configurations of the cockpit are available through direct dialogue, using the iCCD, which is essentially a trackball.”
Joannic added that “we designed the cockpit in such a way as to decrease the weight of the aircraft with decreased wiring. The screens you see are completely redundant in their architecture. It is a step toward the ultimate integrated avionics. For certification we proved that the system can have 100 percent functionality even though 50 percent of the equipment is down.”