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The Leonardo AW169 is at the top of its game as a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) aircraft. But have you ever wondered what some of those quirky little features are?

Helicopter wire cutter

Cable Cutters System

The Cable Cutters System gives a means of protecting the helicopter during a wire strike by providing the capability to cut a cable or wire before catastrophic damage occurs.

It is designed to reduce the possibility of a cable or wire entering the cockpit and to reduce the chance of flight control damage.

In the event of an impact with high tension wires such as power lines, the theory is that the cable will be displaced either side of the aircraft and avoid the rotors.

We don’t want to see how well it works though!

air particle separator

Air particle separator

This modification is an optional extra installed on our aircraft G-LNCC.
Its job is to filter out harmful particles and debris that may be ingested into the engines allowing us to land in the areas such as dusty fields, car parks or even sandy the beaches without damaging the engines!

Tracker beam on helicopter

Tracker beam

TheTrakkabeam is a high powered searchlight and is an optional extra not found on most helicopters.
We are required to have a working high-powered searchlight in order to conduct night HEMS utilising  Night Vision Goggles.
The pilots use this to recce the landing area of the incident before landing.
On the luminous intensity scale the light emitted from this trakkabeam is the equivalent to 22 million candles!

pitot tube on helicotper

Pitot tube

Pitot tubes are found on all aircraft whether a light aircraft Cessna or a 747 Jumbo Jet!
Air travels into the tube, then to an Air Data Computer which calculates the flow and displays it as an airspeed to the pilots via their PFD’s (Primary Flight Displays).
Our aircraft has 2 independent pitot tubes, one on each side of the cockpit. Because our aircraft is certified to fly completely in cloud, the pitot tubes need to be heated so ice doesn’t build up inside and stop them functioning.

Onboard CCTV system

Onboard CCTV system

Those eagle eyed enough may have noticed our Eagles Eye!

A high definition coloured CCTV built into the top of the helicopter’s tail boom.
With this switched on, the pilot’s MFD (Multi Function Display) shows a coloured, forward looking real-time video feed of the aircraft in flight or whilst taxiing on the  ground.