StandardAero and Thales Team to Certify the Most Advanced Autopilot System for Light Helicopters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – December 9, 2019 – StandardAero and Thales announced today a signed teaming agreement formalizing a mutual commitment for developing and certifying an advanced autopilot system for the light helicopter market.  The system will initially be certified for installation on the popular Airbus Helicopters AS350 platform.

Based on extensive autopilot experience, Thales has incorporated the features and safety design architecture usually found in multi-engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) helicopters into its Compact Autopilot, now available to light helicopter platforms.  Thales is offering a lightweight four-axis solution that enables permanent aircraft stabilization, eliminating the traditional dedicated flight control computer.  The autopilot can also fully control the helicopter from initial hover to coupled approach and position-hold.

StandardAero brings its extensive and proven aftermarket experience in aircraft modifications and supplemental certification capabilities to the AS350 Compact Autopilot product.  The company’s extensive engineering and certification knowledge serves to ensure the fielded solution will far exceed the basic certification requirements and will satisfy operators’ exacting expectations for system operation, airframe integration, simplified maintenance and product support.

“Our Compact Autopilot solution capitalizes on the proven levels of safety and reliability that are already deployed on larger air transport platforms.  We will use this technology and experience as the basis for a cutting-edge, timely solution, bringing light helicopters into a new era,” said Christian Bardot, Thales Vice-President in charge of Helicopter Avionics business

“As part of our ongoing SAFECRAFT program, offering this state-of-the-art compact autopilot allows us to press forward in our aggressive pursuit of certifying innovative, transformational safety technologies that address many of the most common concerns our customers face, such as pilot fatigue and entry into inadvertent IMC conditions that can often result in LOC-I and CFIT situations.  These risks are well known throughout the industry by owners, operators and the pilots flying these machines, yet until now, we haven’t had the right technology available for this segment to adequately address the threat head on.  That all changes today,” added Elvis Moniz, StandardAero Vice President of Business Development for Airframes and Avionics Solutions.

Through StandardAero’s diverse aftermarket expertise and Thales’s proven avionics solutions, the two companies will deliver to the marketplace the most cost-effective and capable 4-axis autopilot system for the AS350 series, featuring a sophisticated design that includes customer-driven, inherent capabilities that significantly optimize performance and improve safety. For more information on the StandardAero and Thales autopilot for the AS350 platform, please visit

StandardAero is one of the world’s largest independent providers of services including engine and airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul, engine component repair, engineering services, interior completions and paint applications.  StandardAero serves a diverse array of customers in business and general aviation, airline, military, helicopter, components and energy markets. StandardAero is owned by The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG), a global investment firm with deep industry expertise that deploys private capital across four business segments: Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Credit and Investment Solutions. With $216 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2018, Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of our investors, portfolio companies and the communities in which we live and invest. For more information, go to