HeliSAS Autopilot and Stability Augmentation System

2-Axis Autopilot for Helicopters, from Genesys Aerosystems

Until now, autopilots were practical only in military or large commercial helicopters. But, at a far lighter weight and priced affordably, the HeliSAS® provides unparalleled safety and pilot workload reduction through enhanced stability for lighter helicopters. The HeliSAS makes hands-off operations, autopilot procedures and automatic attitude recovery.

The designers of the HeliSAS® Autopilot and Stability Augmentation System have a long history of research and development of flight control systems for civilian and military helicopters. Now Genesys makes the tremendous safety and workload reduction advantages of stability augmentation, once reserved for military and transport category helicopters, available for a wide range of rotorcraft models.

The HeliSAS stability augmentation system is designed to be engaged at all times, “SAS on” before takeoff and “SAS off” after landing, to provide unmatched stability and ease of handling. It dramatically reduces pilot workload while providing precise control during all modes of flight, regardless of wind conditions or shifts in weight.

The attitude stabilization and force feel features enhance handling characteristics and mitigate inadvertent cyclic control inputs that could result in dangerous attitudes. The pilot may override the HeliSAS at any time with manual cyclic inputs. In cases where a pilot may lose visual reference due to limited visibility conditions, releasing the cyclic causes the helicopter to automatically return to a near-level attitude. With the HeliSAS Autopilot and Stability Augmentation System, Genesys sets a new standard in helicopter safety.

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Sarasota Avionics' custom avionics installation in a 2012 Eurocopter EC130B4:

The HeliSAS will automatically recover to a neutral attitude when the cyclic is released.

Stability Autopilot + Augmentation System The HeliSAS Autopilot and Stability Augmentation System provides a number of workload reduction and safety enchancements:

Significant stability improvement. Pilots with no helicopter experience have successfully hovered a HelisSAS-equipped helicopter with very little practice.

Automatic recovery to near-level flight. If the helicopter is inadvertently flown to an extreme attitude, releasing the cyclic when the HeliSAS is engaged will automatically return the helicopter to a near-level attitude (roll trim limits are +5o to -5o and pitch trim limits are +11o and -6o).
The autopilot system provides many of the functions found in very heavy, expensive helicopter autopilots, but at a fraction of the cost and weight. The following descriptions refer to the control panel pictured below:

SAS. This is the system of engagement button. SAS provides attitude stabilization at all speeds.

HDG. Selects the desired heading the pilot wants to fly. If a Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) is installed, HeliSAS will fly to and maintain the heading selected by the heading bug. If there is no HSI, the HDG function will maintain the existing GPS track.

NAV. The active GPS, VOR, or Localizer course will be automatically intercepted and tracked when NAV is engaged. VOR and Localizer coupling require an HSI. GPS does not.

BC. HeliSAS will intercept and fly a back course localizer approach (requires an HSI).

ALT. Maintains the existing altitude for an indefinite period.

VRT. Vertical navigation allows automatic flying of ILS glide slope or GPS VNAV if a WAAS-enabled GPS is installed. Both functions require an HSI.

The HeliSAS control panel pictured here is just 5.75" x 0.75". The unit weighs 0.48 pounds. NOTE: All functions can be used in flight at airspeeds above 44 knots.

HeliSAS Autopilot and Stability Augmentation System Overview

System consists of only seven primary components:

1. Digital Flight Control Computer

  • Functions as SAS computer
  • Provides attitude hold function

2. HeliSAS Control Panel

Installed with full autopilot, provides the functions of:
  • HDG: Heading Select and hold
  • ALT: Altitude hold
  • NAV:
  1. VOR intercept and tracking
  2. Localizer intercept and tracking
  3. GPS intercept and tracking
  4. BC: Localizer backcourse tracking
  • VRT:
  1. Glide slope intercept and tracking
  2. VNAV

3. Attitude Gyro or Air Data / Attitude and Heading Reference System (ADAHRS)

  • Attitude gyro is panel-mounted
  • Cobham ADAHRS is installed with integrated system (display and HeliSAS)

4. Pitch Servo

  • Controls aircraft rotation about its lateral axis
  • Provides cyclic stick anchoring (position holding) with "SAS On"
  • Provides artificial force gradient and re-centering when cyclic is displaced from anchor point

5. Roll Servo

  • Controls aircrafting rotation about its longitudinal axis
  • Provides cyclic stick anchoring (position holding) with "SAS On"
  • Provides artificial force gradient and re-centering when cyclic is displaced from anchor point

6. Cyclic Control Buttons

  • Existing cyclic control can be used in most cases
  • A trim button is required
  • An autopilot / SAS release/engage button is required

7. Installation Kit