Several law enforcement agencies recently completed Night Flight Concepts’s (Booth No. 1024) “Turn Green, Turn-Key” night-vision-goggle training. The agencies included the Atlanta Police Department and the Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff’s office for the MD 500E, and EC130 and EC135, respectively.
The Night Flight Concepts (NFC) training includes use of a virtual-terrain board (VTB). NFC was recently named the exclusive distributor of Night Readiness’s VTB for the civil and law enforcement sector in the U.S. NFC currently is the only U.S. civilian school using VTB 2.0, and last year it graduated 50 clients on the system. NFC president Adam Aldous said VTB is popular with customers in part because of its ability to show NVG image nuances, such as illumination light-level shadows, visual illusions, halo effects, weather, non-compatible and compatible lighting, the difference in appearance between dirt, asphalt and concrete roads, and railroad tracks. According to NFC, “The system lets you simulate all different types of terrain, and the looks you get over water, over snow and in high- and low-contrast settings. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars learning this in the aircraft. You can simulate all this in the classroom.”
Aldous said NFC’s NVG ab initio, recurrent and instructor courses combine computer-based distance learning, classroom course work, VTB training, and in-aircraft training. While he said the VTB is not a substitute for the minimum five one-hour NVG flights required for Part 135 qualification with goggles, it does make them more effective. “Training minimums are just that, minimums, but proficiency is a standard and ninety-eight percent of the time you spend additional time.” Aldous cautions that almost no one qualifies on NVGs after just five hours in aircraft. “It’s more like seven or eight,” he said. “With VTB 2.0 we can cut that down to six or seven. With 3.0 we could probably get it down to five. We can show more in the classroom than we can in the aircraft. We can reinforce what students see in the aircraft and make them more proficient.”
Aldous said that NFC planned to sell and provide VTB systems and training to its competitors and large civil helicopter operators. “Our mindset is to do what is best for the industry, to set a standard across the industry that will benefit the pilots and the first responders who put their lives on the line for us.”