Bell introduces low-cost ground velocity sensor for Hover-Hold and SAR missions

Bell introduces low-cost ground velocity sensor for Hover-Hold and SAR missions

21-Jul-2010 Source: Bell

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, working in cooperation with Esterline CMC Electronics, has developed and flight tested a new generation global positioning system (GPS) sensor to replace existing high-cost Doppler or inertial velocity sensors used in automated approach-to-hover and hover-hold systems.

This new product is anticipated to be available for installation on the Bell 412EP within the next 12-months with plans to expand availability to other models.

“The CMC GPS solution proved more responsive in flight test than both the legacy Doppler and any of the GPS-aided inertial solutions being examined when tied to the existing 412EP autopilot, but this is not just for SAR and hover-hold,” said Bell’s chief technology officer, Nick Lappos. “We see this technology and the capability it brings as a means to improve safety in low-speed operations in general as well as reduce the cost of SAR operations.”

The Bell-CMC low-cost ground velocity sensor is a fraction of the cost of previous technologies. Designed to work with the existing autopilot systems the Bell-CMC ground velocity sensor provides law enforcement and emergency medical service (EMS) operators with significant SAR safety enhancements at an affordable price.

This new offering will provide immediate benefit for Bell 412EP operators by reducing weight, minimizing installation requirements, and improving stabilized hover-hold performance.  Unaffected by glassy water, tall grass, under-slung objects or other situations, the new Bell-CMC sensor avoids many operational constraints that have traditionally challenged the performance of Doppler systems.

Established as a as a stand-alone software upgrade to the Esterline CMC Electronics CMA-5024 satellite based augmentation systems (SBAS) GPS receiver, the new Bell-CMC low-cost ground velocity sensor processes a specific property of the raw GPS signals to produce an actual velocity measurement versus reporting changes in GPS positions over time.

Taking advantage of the processing power and high-update rate of the CMA-5024, and not being limited to WAAS/SBAS coverage, the system’s ground velocity function is usable world-wide.

“At Bell Helicopter we are committed to providing our customers with innovative solutions to support their mission requirements,” said Lappos. . “We are confident that this product will directly benefit our customers and look forward to working with industry on future capabilities and safety initiatives.”

About Esterline CMC Electronics
Esterline CMC Electronics is a world leader in the design, manufacture, sales and support of high-technology electronics products for the aviation and global positioning markets. The company’s principal locations are in Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa, Ontario; and Chicago, Illinois. CMC’s capabilities are broadened by a network of sales and service agents and representatives supporting CMC’s activities worldwide. Formerly known as Canadian Marconi Company, Esterline CMC Electronics has been designing and building innovative communication and electronics systems since 1903. CMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Esterline Corporation (NYSE:ESL,, a specialized aerospace and defense company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Esterline employs over 10,000 people worldwide.

About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

About Textron, Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at

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