July 20, 2009

Sheriffs Fly Dynon

Dale County Sheriff's Department will soon "Fly Dynon". They are purchasing six EFIS-D10A electronic flight information systems to equip their fleet of three helicopters. Each aircraft will sport a stack of two EFIS displays in place of the original attitude indicator and directional gyros. Tim McDonald, creator and head of the Sheriff's Aviation Department, reports he selected Dynon in part because the installation will allow the elimination of an A/C converter necessary to power the original gyros. But Tim and his pilots are also looking forward to the increased capability and vastly improved informational displays afforded by the glass panels devices.

Tim chose to install two of the 4" EFIS displays so that one can continuously present a primary flight display while the other offers a permanent HSI display. With the simple low-cost upgrade, each aircraft will be equipped with complete redundancy of not only its primary flight display, but also the flight data sensors (AHRS) which drive the displays. Internal backup batteries in each EFIS display will add yet another level of redundancy.

Just as important to Tim is the Dynon's capability to calculate and display wind vectors on both flight displays based on an integrated GPS signal from the avionics stack. He points out that wind vector information will be an invaluable aid to safety and situational awareness to pilots conducting off-airport landings and low-level operations.

Because law enforcement aircraft fly under rules governing "Public Aircraft", they are free of many of the restrictions imposed by the FAA on the installation of non-certified, non-TSO'd equipment in their aircraft. As a result, these public service aircraft can be equipped with the very latest glass panel technology, enhancing safety, system redundancy and mission capability all at a cost to public agencies that is just a fraction of the cost of a typical certified glass panel display.

Dale County Sheriff's department is not the first law enforcement agency in their state to select Dynon equipment. Tim reports that the Alabama State Troopers and Morgan County Sheriff's Department are also flying Dynon EFIS displays.