Airbox wins PANDA UK SAR contract

Airbox wins PANDA UK SAR contract

18-May-2015 Source: Bristow

Airbox, the specialist navigation and mission system developer, has today confirmed that Bristow Helicopters Limited is to use Airbox PANDA to support its UK SAR operations and Gap SAR bases in Sumburgh and Stornoway. The company will provide its mission visualisation platform to all of Bristow Helicopter’s SAR aircraft and bases enabling efficient and safe flight and route planning and execution.

Bristow Helicopters began operation of the UK search and rescue helicopter service on behalf of HM Coastguard on 1 April 2015, at Humberside and Inverness, and will go-live at the remaining eight bases in a phased approach until July 2017. Gap SAR bases at Sumburgh and Stornoway have been live since summer 2013.

The software has been designed to improve a pilot’s knowledge of their environment whether at the planning, operational or debrief phase of a mission. Among the innovations available within the PANDA package are power line and obstacle avoidance, advanced fuel planning and calculations to display areas of operation.

William Moore, Airbox’ Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of the company explained, “We’re immensely proud to be providing Bristow with PANDA both in the Bristow’s ops rooms and in all the new UK SAR aircraft. The software has evolved over time from a pure flight-planning and execution app to a mission management system that allows complex planning, remote tasking and navigation for aircraft operating in, often hazardous environments. ”

Samantha Willenbacher, Director of UK Search and Rescue at Bristow Helicopters Ltd, said: “We looked at a number of products before choosing the Airbox PANDA system which provides enhanced situational awareness for our pilots. Its ability to alert our crews of available airspace and warn of overhead wires and other obstacles as well as assess potential landing sites on the move will help our crews save valuable time, effort and ultimately lives.”

Airbox PANDA’s range of situational awareness products are already used extensively by the Police, Emergency Services and the Military for both air and ground roles.

About Airbox

Airbox Aerospace Limited was formed in early 2008 by pilot and engineer William Moore and Tom Hedges, a design and marketing director, to realise the potential of their combined experience in aircraft navigation systems. With a focus on innovation, safety and the highest levels of customer service, Airbox is redefining the leading edge of navigation technology.

The company is based at Grove Technology Park, Oxfordshire, England, on a former World War II USAF base and has an in-house software development and design studio, with manufacturing partnerships with several Far Eastern electronics specialists.

Airbox is proud to work with many leading aviation organisations including the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS (National Air Traffic Services), all sectors of the airborne emergency services, law enforcement and the military.

Airbox is a multi-award winning company with awards, which include the Flight Safety Foundation’s Honeywell Bendix Trophy for Aviation Safety and the Royal Institute of Navigation’s award for Technical Excellence in Navigation Systems Development.

About PANDA (Planning Awareness Navigation Document-sharing App) MVP

PANDA is an all-encompassing multi-platform mapping application providing pilots with an unprecedented level of functionality and situational awareness. Other features include full flight planning ability, airspace and terrain awareness including warnings, in-fight navigation, geo-referenced approach plates, advanced satellite weather overlays, remote tasking and multi-user collaboration.

The mapping engine, derived from RunwayHD, an app originally developed for the General Aviation consumer market, gives users the ability to access and view multiple map scales and styles at any one time including ICAO charts right down to high detail street level mapping and photographic imagery if required. Because chart, airfield and location data is stored offline pilots are now able to carry with them digital documentation that previously would have been a practical impossibility due to volume of paper required.

Airbox’ work with HEMS operators and other professional users has led to powerful on and offline search function for PANDA, which allows users to search, locate and fly to locations such as towns, landmarks and even individual numbered houses on streets.

About Bristow Helicopters Limited

Bristow Helicopters Ltd is the leading provider of search and rescue (SAR) services in the UK, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, having been awarded the UK SAR contract and the Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland. Bristow Helicopters has a long history of providing world class SAR services in the UK, beginning in 1971 and has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by our crews and helicopters. For more information on Bristow’s SAR operations, please visit

Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has served the offshore oil transport industry in the UK for nearly 60 years. Bristow Helicopters Ltd. is an affiliated company of Bristow Group Inc.

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