New IAI flight system to prevent mid-air collisions passes tests

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently conducted a series of successful tests on an innovative tactical system that can prevent mid-air collisions between helicopters and light aircraft, like the accident on Saturday over the Hudson River in New York. The system is based on a data link communication system between aircraft, which updates each one in real time on the other's position and flight vector. The system is capable of recognizing flight formation, can avoid issuing false alarms and sounds a warning only in the case of real danger. If the system detects a potential collision, it alerts the pilots via visual and auditory alarms. The system also supplies the pilots with recommendations for avoidance measures and suggests what course to take to prevent the collision. Flight tests by IAI were recently conducted on two Bell 205 Helicopters. Additional tests are set for the near future on an Air Force Blackhawk Helicopters. The Israel Air Force has expressed interest in the system. The system will likely cost under $1 million. In February 1997, two IAF Yasour Helicopters collided in midair as they were flying to Lebanon, killing 73 soldiers. Since then, the IAF has invested in similar systems to warn helicopters, which are flying together in formation, that they are too close to each other. In addition, the IAF recently procured systems that enable pilots to view data on screens on the helicopter's windshield without having to turn their heads in the cockpit and risk becoming distracted. The IAF has also installed "black boxes" on all its helicopters to enable effective inquiry processes following accidents.