Blue Hawaiian gets choppers with improved cockpit display

Kahului-based Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has received the first two EC130 T2 choppers equipped with the Garmin G500H “glass cockpit” multifunction electronic flight display systems, chopper maker American Eurocopter said.

American Eurocopter said that it recently received a supplemental certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration to install the G500H in its EC130 T2 choppers.

The G500H is available with optional components like the Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System, including Synthetic Vision. With this capability pilots can monitor and adjust the radios, navigation, intercom and operating systems through touch screens.

Blue Hawaiian has received the first two choppers equipped with the Garmin system, with more on order, American Eurocopter said in a the news release.

“The G500H is a revolutionary tool to improve situational awareness and significantly reduce our greatest risk. The cost/benefit of this system makes this choice a ‘no-brainer,’ ” said David Chevalier, chief executive of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. “The greatest risk factor faced by helicopter operations in Hawaii is inadvertent flight into IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) and subsequent CFIT (controlled flight into terrain). Garmin’s synthetic vision technology is a godsend.”

The new aircraft, the latest model in the Eurocopter single-engine product range, will supplement Blue Hawaiian’s existing fleet of EC130 B4 and AS350 helicopters. Blue Hawaiian was the launch customer for the EC130B4 in 2001. Since that time, the company has logged more than 460,000 flight hours on its all-Eurocopter fleet, the news release said.

The EC130 T2 light single-engine helicopter has individual seats for each passenger, improved visibility through a wrap-around glass cockpit, state-of-the-art avionics and Eurocopter’s advanced main rotor and Fenestron tail rotor technology. The Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine provides increased power with lower specific fuel consumption, the news release said.

“The double sliding doors significantly improve passenger ingress and egress and the additional engine power is substantial over the EC130B4. The most exciting thing about this aircraft is the expected reduction in operating costs,” said Chevalier.

Blue Hawaiian has been in the air tour industry for more than 25 years.