LAKE CHARLES, La., 31 Aug. 2012. Avionics experts at helicopter operator and lease firm Era Helicopters LLC in Lake Charles, La., needed emergency beacon decoder avionics for the company's fleet of AgustaWestland AW139 search-and-rescue helicopter fleet. They found their solution from Becker Avionics Inc. in Miramar, Fla.
Era Helicopters officials are choosing the Becker Avionics BD406 Beacon Decoder for their company's AW139 helicopters. The BD406 can be used in a fixed installation or as a portable receiver to decode and navigate to 406 MHz Cospas-Sarsat capable beacons.
The beacon decoder transmits the 406 MHz signal with GPS information, and provides the ability to decode the transmitted GPS location of a 406 MHz beacon data burst at long distances, Becker Avionics officials say.
Era Helicopters offers 24-hour FAA-approved, full-service search-and-rescue and emergency medical service capabilities and turnkey utility solutions to offshore oil & gas companies located in the Gulf of Mexico as well as advanced life support paramedic resources.
The AW139 medium-lift helicopter can take on deepwater maritime SAR/EMS operations at distances as far as 200 nautical miles offshore. Era Helicopters is the first SAR/EMS operator to adopt the new BD406 Beacon Decoder, which will help their company during emergency responses to ensure the highest standard in helicopter SAR/EMS services in the Gulf of Mexico, Becker Aviation officials say.
"The new BD406 provides an immense improvement in identifying the precise location of a distress beacon when compared to older direction finding systems," says Brett Gardner, director of sales and marketing at Becker Avionics.
The Becker BD406 consists of a cockpit-mounted 2.25-inch version, or a mobile battery-powered portable unit. The decoded GPS position is not degraded by poor RF signal quality and therefore improves the navigation accuracy and reliability during rescue missions, company officials say.
The decoder can display location data on a self-contained liquid crystal display, or on a cockpit display, or integrated aircraft EFIS display, via the ARINC 429 output, while also displaying the bearing to the selected beacon.
The BD406 can track and identify as many as 49 individual beacon codes, and will display the 15 digit C/S Hex ID Code to enable rescue services to effectively allocate resources accordingly in trying to find the distress beacon.