Yet Another Bell 212 Upgrade – WAAS LPV Capable

1971 Bell 212

The Astronautics RoadRunner Electronic Flight Information System
The Astronautics RoadRunner Electronic Flight Information System

Aircraft & Owner:

Canadian Helicopters is the largest helicopter transportation services company in Canada with 25 bases and a fleet of over 90 light, medium, and heavy lift helicopters. The Bell 212, first produced in 1968, is a medium duty helicopter suspended by two blades. It can be flown single pilot with a up to 14 passengers and a max range of 237nm.

The Original Panel was Very Dated with All Analog Instruments
The Original Panel was Very Dated with All Analog Instruments


The primary goal of this project was to install duplicate our previous upgrade to one of Canadian Helicopters Bell 212s, which you can read more about here. As Canadian Helicopters operates a large fleet of Bell 212s pilot familiarity between individual aircraft is important.

Equipped with all analog flight instruments, Canadian Helicopters wanted to eliminate the need for costly repairs and overhauls as these aging instruments begin to fail. A glass primary flight display system replaces the many moving parts of these instruments with all electronic sensors which then display the data on a large, easy to read screen.

While this Bell 212 was in our hangar, they also wanted to gain ADS-B out capabilities opening up the ability to work in some parts of the United States where ADS-B has been mandated for safety.


Dual AFI4700 RoadRunner Electronic Flight Instrument (Astronautics)
Dual GNS530W All-in-one WAAS GPS/Nav/Comm (Garmin)
TY92 VHF Radio System (Trig Avionics)
GTX335R Remote Mounted ADS-B Out Transponder (Garmin)
CTL-92E Transponder Control (Collins Aerospace)
SH20-37 Transport Canada STC Astronautics RoadRunner (Maxcraft)
SH19-19 Transport Canada STC Trig TY92 (Maxcraft)
SH22-16 Transport Canada STC Garmin GTX Transponder (Maxcraft)


Maxcraft Solution:

We used the supplemental type certificate (STC) we designed in house for the installation of the Astronautics RoadRunner electronic flight information system (EFIS) in the Bell 212 helicopter to replicate our previous installation in another Bell 212. The Astronautics AFI 4700 RoadRunner primary flight displays were interfaced with the legacy flight director system, along with the Garmin GNS 530W WAAS certified GPS. This system is approved for fully coupled localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach operations which is just about unheard of in legacy Bell 212/412 helicopters.

Along with the RoadRunner and GNS 530W pair, we installed a Garmin GTX 335R remote mounted transponder. This is an ADS-B out transponder which is mounted away from the main panel and controlled by a smaller control head to save precious panel and pedestal space. While Garmin remote transponders are typically controlled by a GTN 650 or 750, since we installed the GNS 530W for fleet commonality, we installed the Collins Aerospace CTL-92W transponder control. With an easy to read digital display, and simple to operate knobs, the small form factor brings all the functionality of the GTX 335 without taking up a full unit of rack space.

Maxcraft Technicians Running Wire for Various Systems
Maxcraft Technicians Running Wire for Various Systems

The Story:

As this installation was based mostly on our previous install, you may notice many similarities between the two aircraft. While they are the same airframe, every individual aircraft does have it’s own unique characteristics and quirks which require us to slightly modify some aspects of the installation. This 212 was a slightly older model than the previous one. The difference in age also added some new variables we had to work around. The flight director in this helicopter was slightly different and required some modifications to display all the correct annunciations required for complex IFR flying.

Almost All of the Interior is Removed for a Job of this Size
Almost All of the Interior is Removed for a Job of this Size

Customer Comments: 

“Maxcraft has been a long-standing supplier of Canadian Helicopters. We anticipate significant benefit with this retrofit and are pleased to partner with Maxcraft on this initiative.”

Don Wall

President & CEO

Canadian Helicopters Ltd