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Does Gps Work In A Helicopter?


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There's no reason it wouldn't work. The blades only cover a tiny portion of the sky. As long as you have a clear view of the sky, there will be no problem.

 

The only thing I can think of is that some airplanes have some sort of coating on the cockpit glass that blocks GPS signals. I'm not sure if helicopters might have this coating too.

 

Jamie

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There's a difference between having a panel-mounted GPS display with an antenna mount positioned outside the aircraft for optimum reception and having a handheld inside the cabin. I would SPECULATE that the difference is probably minimal, and the handheld would work fine. But having never tried to operate one on a helicopter, I am only guessing. As Sputnik said, NightPilot is the best qualified member that I know to answer your question. He drives a Sikorsky S76A :)

Edited by Neo_Geo
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Yes, they work. I used one for a long time before we got our installed units. Just like in a car, you have to put it in the windshield, or someplace that it can see the sky. The roof, being aluminum in many cases, will block the signals, but the rotors don't. I used to keep mine in a holder the sheet metal repairman made, just like many of our pilots did (and many still do, even with an aviation GPS installed, just in case), which attached to the glareshield, right in front of me. Back then I had a Magellan Pioneer, rather primitive by today's standards, but it worked much better than the LORAN receivers we had installed, which quit working every time a thunderstorm appeared in the gulf, which was just about every day it seemed. The low-frequency signals were severely affected by lightning. GPS, when it appeared, was a wonderful thing, even though we had to use different coordinates than what we used for LORAN. The LORAN coordinates were up to a few miles off from the actual surveyed coordinates, but the GPS coordinates agreed exactly.

 

Um...... There is no fiberglass in a B212. It's all aluminum alloy, including the blades. That's 1950s technology, and fiberglass wasn't used for much of anything back then. Those old 212s used in Antarctica are the last ones we have - we got rid of the rest long ago. You may be getting GPS signals through the windows, which are pretty big, and if you're in a window seat you can get a decent sky view. And if you're seeing 170mph, either you have a poor signal or a very, very strong tailwind. 100mph in a 212 is closer to average, which is one reason they're obsolete.

 

BTW, tell Jack Hawkins I said hello.

Edited by NightPilot
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Yes, they work.  I used one for a long time before we got our installed units.  Just like in a car, you have to put it in the windshield, or someplace that it can see the sky.  The roof, being aluminum in many cases, will block the signals, but the rotors don't.  I used to keep mine in a holder the sheet metal repairman made, just like many of our pilots did (and many still do, even with an aviation GPS installed, just in case), which attached to the glareshield, right in front of me.  Back then I had a Magellan Pioneer, rather primitive by today's standards, but it worked much better than the LORAN receivers we had installed, which quit working every time a thunderstorm appeared in the gulf, which was just about every day it seemed.  The low-frequency signals were severely affected by lightning.  GPS, when it appeared, was a wonderful thing, even though we had to use different coordinates than what we used for LORAN.  The LORAN coordinates were up to a few miles off from the actual surveyed coordinates, but the GPS coordinates agreed exactly.

 

Um......  There is no fiberglass in a B212.  It's all aluminum alloy, including the blades.  That's 1950s technology, and fiberglass wasn't used for much of anything back then.  Those old 212s used in Antarctica are the last ones we have - we got rid of the rest long ago.  You may be getting GPS signals through the windows, which are pretty big, and if you're in a window seat you can get a decent sky view.  And if you're seeing 170mph, either you have a poor signal or a very, very strong tailwind.  100mph in a 212 is closer to average, which is one reason they're obsolete.

 

BTW, tell Jack Hawkins I said hello.

I was going to ask if you knew Jack.

You may see him before I do though! He should be back and flying the gulf as we speak.

 

I guess the 212 is aluminum. Oh well I had no trouble with the GPS in either of the 212s.

And yes a 50Kt+ tail wind is not too unusual between Black Island and McMurdo...

Edited by McMurdo1
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Yes, LORAN still exists, and some aircraft still have them installed. In fact, the latest plan seems to be using LORAN to augment GPS. The Coast Guard wanted to abandon it, but was forced to keep supporting it, and it looks like it will be viable in the long term.

 

LORAN was used in aircraft for a long time, even after GPS came online, because of the expense involved in replacing it in hundreds of helicopters and airplanes. I used LORAN far longer than I have used GPS, and we used to use it for instrument approaches offshore, down to the same minimums we have with GPS, combined with weather radar in ground mapping mode. It wasn't as accurate as GPS, but good enough. A platform hundreds of feet on a side in the ocean isn't quite as hard to find as a film canister in the woods. :)

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