Guatemalan Air Force Bell 212 upgraded with Astronics glass cockpit


Astronautics Corporation of America, in partnership with Central American Aviation Services (CAAS), located in Guatemala City, has completed the first Bell 212 glass cockpit upgrade for the Guatemalan Air Force with its Badger Pro+ Integrated Flight Display System.

The Astronautics upgrade consists of four 6×8-inch high-resolution displays, a control panel, and an engine data concentrator unit.  The retrofit transforms the legacy cockpit from its steam gauges to a digital, full-glass cockpit, replacing primary flight displays and engine instruments with the same Badger Pro+ Integrated Flight Display System flying on new production Bell helicopters.

“Astronautics was pleased to partner with CAAS to provide this retrofit. The collaboration of CAAS’s installation knowledge and experience and Astronautics’ innovation and flexibility paved the way for an enviable 212 cockpit. The proven ruggedness and reliability of Astronautics’ Badger Pro+ made it an obvious choice for this cost-effective upgrade,” said Astronautics President Chad Cundiff.  “The system’s durability combined with its customizable video capability make it ready for any humanitarian or military mission the Guatemalan Air Force may undertake.  The Guatemalan Air Force now has the same integrated flight displays flying on its Bell 212 that come from the factory on new Bell 412 and 429 aircraft, providing continuity across platforms for ease of pilot training and manufacturer support.”

President of Central American Aviation Services Michael Tutt explained that, “The selection of the Badger Pro+ for this Bell 212 modernization was an easy decision given the advanced features, reliability, options, and pedigree of the Astronautics system.  Given the challenging requirements of the Guatemalan Air Force, the Badger Pro+ has far exceeded our original expectations, as well as the Guatemalan Air Force requirements.

“Being able to work directly with the Astronautics engineering group during the entire process from initial concept and integration to final installation and testing was the key for our avionics and maintenance team to be able to complete the project onsite in Guatemala in a very short time span; less than six months from start to finish. This was an extremely difficult task that was made more challenging due to the Covid-19 Pandemic; however, it was made possible by the constant communication between both teams. Astronautics provided onsite technical assistance during the configuration and testing phase, as well as invaluable post-installation pilot and technician training for the Guatemalan Air Force, assuring operational success.”

Badger Pro+ is the latest generation of Astronautics’ Badger display family with demonstrated reliability over one million flight hours in the harshest environments.  The displays show primary flight, navigation, and engine data.  The system displays high-definition video from multiple inputs and provides night vision compatibility. Badger Pro+ integrates information from across all systems on the aircraft, providing an operationally advanced pilot interface and a path for adding safety features, such as terrain and traffic awareness and Wide Area Augmentation System. The readability of the displays is world class with color, contrast, letter sizing, and fonts that provide exceptional viewability.

Astronautics’ Badger Pro+ is the standard-fit, integrated flight display system on production Subaru Bell 412EPX and Bell 429 helicopters.

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