This is my 61st blog, and I can say in no uncertain terms that the ones I’ve done on the Genesys Aerosystems Helicopter Autopilot and Stability Augmentation System, aka HeliSAS, have been the most popular ones of the bunch by far.
Why? Well, I think it’s because it’s such an amazing piece of equipment. There’s not another system on the market that does more, costs less and has single-handedly (I guess we can say that about an autopilot) saved as many lives as HeliSAS has.
How, you ask? Everyone knows that VFR helicopters and low-visibility situations are a very dangerous mixture. Statistics show that way too many Part 27 light helicopter accidents – and a shocking number of EMS accidents – are rooted in situations where VFR helicopter pilots, flying at low altitudes, inadvertently encounter IMC conditions. Flying at night only makes a bad situation worse.
With HeliSAS, these life-threatening situations become routine operations. Once the pilot engages HeliSAS at start-up, it acts as a full-time and highly qualified co-pilot whose “hands and feet” never leave the controls.
Should a pilot lose their visual references for any reason, all they need to do is to let go – yes, let go – of the helicopter’s cyclic and HeliSAS will automatically maintain or recover to a near level attitude.
Once established, the pilot can easily command a 180-degree turn by simply using the HeliSAS heading control and inputs from the HSI or EFIS. HeliSAS is the virtual safety net no light helicopter pilot should ever fly without.
With the addition of the two-axis autopilot option, HeliSAS gets even better. It provides an array of workload-reducing capabilities like altitude hold, NAV hold, the ability to track an entire GPS-based flight path, Vertical Mode, which can track an ILS approach, and Heading Hold.
While I could go on and on about HeliSAS blog after blog, I think you’d much rather hear about its benefits from pilots who actually fly it on a daily basis. And you can. There’s a HeliSAS YouTube channel that’s loaded with owner/pilot-produced videos from all over the world that tell the Genesys Aerosystems’ HeliSAS story even better than I can.
If you’re a light helicopter pilot or owner, I think they’re well worth a close look.