Europe’s EASA approves FLARM technology for helicopters

FLARM in action. A V4 LED display (top center of the instrument panel) indicates a collision warning and shows direction to the intruder.

General Aviation collision avoidance system developer FLARM Technology has secured formal approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency to install its technology in helicopters.

Already installed in over 40,000 General Aviation aircraft, helicopter operators previously had to apply for individual installation approvals from EASA or use PowerFLARM Portable. The newly published EASA Certification Memorandum (CM) extends generic FLARM installations from ELA2 aircraft (previously available as a Standard Change or an AML-based Minor Change) to all CS‑23, CS‑27 and CS‑29 aircraft, including all rotorcraft.

“This is a huge advancement for GA safety in Europe,” said Daniel Hoffmann at FLARM Technology. “We have seen a massive increase in demand for FLARM from helicopter operators all around Europe in just the last two years. In Switzerland, almost all helicopters already have FLARM since a few years. In Germany and other European countries, many large operators, including the Federal Police, ADAC and DRF, have FLARM installed in their large helicopter fleets”.

The newly published CM will enable both operators and aircraft manufacturers to easily integrate FLARM. It is also one of the first times that EASA has ever applied the ‘Net Safety Benefit’ approach in their certification activities. “EASA has taken the over 100 million flight hours of FLARM into account,” said Hoffmann. “We have estimated that FLARM has saved over 50 lives in the last 15 years. At the same time, there have been no incidents where FLARM was a causal factor”.

The CM approves FLARM for both VFR and IFR under VMC but does not give credit against ADS-B Out and TCAS requirements (applicable for aircraft above 5,700 kg MTOM).

“This also opens the door for the whole certified avionics market,” said Hoffmann. “We are currently in discussions with several certified avionics manufacturers about both integration of FLARM as well as display compatibility with standalone FLARM systems.”

FLARM systems are available from several different manufacturers for many different aircraft types.