Innovations: Can you hear me now?

Oregon’s Hillsboro Aviation operates a number of turbine helicopters for various missions, primarily firefighting during the fire season, and search and rescue missions. Passengers are typically the company’s crew and employees of the contracting agency, noted Tom Dalquist.

“The need to communicate with a number of various operators is required from a number of different positions in the helicopter,” he said, adding that “most of the communication need is typically satisfied with the use of NAT/AEM audio/intercom/communication equipment. The need for a drop cord assembly, providing intercom and FM radio transmit that would hold up to the constant movement, dropping, stepping on, etc. during operations, was apparent.”

That need led the company to develop a robust drop cord PTT assembly that could stand up to the rigors of the environment, and provide both intercom and transmit function where required.

“We manufacture two varieties, one for intercom, and one for intercom/transmit function,” Dalquist said. “We have found they hold up very well. We CAD-designed the solid aluminum body of the unit, and order the subcomponents from various manufacturers and build the units in house. We use them in our fleet and sell them to customers as well.”

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