PS Engineering targets helicopter operators with groundbreaking PAC45 audio control system

PS Engineering has received a technical standard order authorization (TSOA) from the Federal Aviation Administration for its PAC45 audio control system, which allows users to place up to six radio channels in unique audio positions in a stereo headset through its patented MultiTalker technology.

The first installation of PS Engineering’s PAC45 was completed by Complete Avionics in an EC135. PS Engineering Photo

Established by CEO Mark Scheuer in 1985, PS Engineering has established a solid reputation as one of the leading providers in audio controllers in the fixed-wing industry, but has remained relatively unknown among those working solely in the rotary-wing world. It hopes the debut of the PAC45 will change all that.

“In my opinion, PS engineering has led almost all of the innovations in audio controllers since 1985,” said Scheuer. “The reason we are as successful as we are today is because we innovate; and it’s not just for the invention itself, but it’s to solve problems in the cockpit when it comes to communications.”

The company’s legacy includes five patents and claims for over a dozen marketplace firsts, including being the first to provide digital recording of aircraft radio in 1992.

According to Scheuer, the DZUS-mounted PAC45 was designed with special mission aircraft in mind, with its True Dimensional Sound technology — known as MultiTalker — allowing users to place audio channels in up to nine three dimensional positions, making it easer to pick up the most relevant thread of audio at any given time.

For example, one channel will sound like it is being projected at the pilot’s 10 O’clock position, another from directly in front, and another from their 2 O’clock. The position of the radios is set by a front panel control.

The effect, achievable through digital signal processing, was developed by Wright Pattinson Air Force Base — and PS Engineering now has exclusive use of its patent.

“MultiTalker will absolutely change the paradigm on how pilots listen to their radios,” said Scheuer. “We have been very successful using this in fixed-wing [aircraft], and now this is our time to make it available for rotor-wing and special missions aircraft.”

A front-panel view of the PAC45. It allows users to place six audio channels in up to nine positions. PS Engineering Photo

Scheuer brought a demonstrator model with him to Dallas during the company’s first appearance at a HAI Heli-Expo earlier this year, and said the response was hugely encouraging.

Using stereo headphones, visitors to his stand were able to hear six channels audio channels, including air traffic control and various emergency services, all at the same time and same volume.

“Then I would turn MultiTalker [technology] on, and every single pilot that listened to it thought it was amazing,” said Scheuer. “We even had a pilot who started looking around, turning left and right.”

In addition to the MultiTalker technology, the PAC45 audio panel has built-in Bluetooth, and is pin-compatible with the NAT AMS series.

Australian company Complete Avionics recently completed the first installation of a PAC45 in a helicopter — an Airbus EC135 — and Bell Helicopter has just signed an order for several PAC45s for customers, said Scheuer.

After spending so long focusing on the fixed-wing market, Scheuer said PS Engineering is now ready to enter the helicopter market with a splash.
“This is an amazing marketplace to bring this technology to, so it’s a real natural next step for us,” he said.


Oliver Johnson: