HAS457-2 Helicopter Antenna System 457kHz
Helicopter Based Search of Avalanche Victims
The professional system HAS457-2 provides a very fast search by helicopter for persons who have been buried in an
avalanche, provided that the persons are carrying an avalanche transceiver.
The primary use is with large avalanches, in case of danger of secondary avalanches or other objective dangers.
The system is also very advantageous for searching for missed persons on any kind of terrain such as avalanches, crevasses,
forests, gorges or other inaccessible areas.
The system features an omnidirectional antenna that will receive signals from transceivers from all directions with equal sensitivity. For performing a search, the antenna is suspended a few meters below the helicopter in order to avoid any interference from the electromagnetic signals emanated by the helicopter.
For searching a signal, the helicopter flies over the search area according to procedures as specified. The ensuing coarse search uses the classical method of bracketing on two orthogonal axes. Once a transceiver has been located, the spot is marked with a flag (heavy object with marker band attached) and a rescuer is lowered by means of the winch or exits to ground for performing a fine search.
The HAS457-2 is only used temporarily, there is no need for permanent installation or modifications to the helicopter. The system must be stored in the helicopter during the winter season. The complete system, ready for use, is stored in a special bag and can be deployed within a very short time.
The Current System
The first helicopter based system for the search of avalanche victims that was using an omnidirectional antenna was developed and marketed by Girsberger Elektronik AG in the year 2000. It was first designated the VS2000 Pro and later on renamed to HAS457.
The system as proved very effective with many rescue organizations all over the world and has saved many lives.
The New System 2018
In the year 2015 we decided to do a re-development of the entire system.
The focus was put on increasing the search efficiency by means of an optical distance and direction information as well as on extending the range.
Various studies, hardware and software developments and extensive field tests showed that the development effort would become exorbitant, that the system would require certification due to the installation of fixed hardware in the helicopter, that an additional device (tablet computer) would be required for control and display, that the range would be reduced, that the maintenance of the software would require a considerable effort and that the final system cost would be very high. Based on these insights, we decided in 2017 to not change to a digital system but keep the analog system. The new receiver provides an optical signal strength indicator that will support the search and will also help in identifying interferers and performing a functional test.
Over all, the system has become more compact, provides an increased range and various new useful details that will be described in the following.
Main Features, Advantages
Previous and Maintained Features
• Increased area search speed due to helicopter
• Reduction of search time
• Better safety for the rescue squad
• Reduction of the cost of rescue
• Higher chances of survival for buried persons
• Large width of search strip
• Classical orthogonal search procedure (bracketing)
• Active omnidirectional antenna
• Battery operation
• Galvanically separated and adjustable connection to the intercom system
• Compatible with all avalanche transceivers (EN 300718)
• Professional and robust construction
• Professional connectors
• Easy to use, immediately deployable
• Developed and manufactured in Switzerland
• Successful use all over the world
New Features and Advantages
• Robust aluminum case for the receiver providing shock protection
• Optical (20 LED bar) received signal strength indicator
• Three level sensitivity adjustment
• Increased range (+ 20%)
• Integrated 3 level intercom impedance adjustment with level control
• Additional earphone connectors with level control
• Improved battery monitoring
• Longer operating time
• Smaller overall dimensions
• Screw-locked case
• Safety through panic hook on the antenna cable
• Antenna cable protected by Polypropylene tubular webbing
• Robust transportation bag providing overall shock protection and reinforced bottom
• Compatible with the current system
Data and information on the previous HAS457 system