Sikorsky Tests Advanced Hover Capability

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A new system being tested by Sikorsky Aircraft will make it possible for pilots to lock in and fly point-in-space approaches, hands-off, and hover for rescues, the company said in a news release on Tuesday. "This system does a fully coupled approach, hover and departure. A nighttime, IFR rescue in icing conditions is now possible, military or civilian," said test pilot Ron Doeppner. The tests were completed flying an S-92 helicopter. The system can fly automated approaches to a set position "hooked" by a search radar, flight management system waypoint, thermal imager or digital map. With the aircraft on an automatic descent to a set altitude and position, the flight crew can keep their eyes looking out of the cockpit for added safety and mission effectiveness, the company said. The system is on course to receive European Aviation Safety Agency certification by year-end, and FAA certification is expected in 2007.