International interest spurs Max-Viz sales

 - February 15, 2010, 5:32 AM

Max-Viz, a designer and manufacturer of enhanced vision systems (EVS) with uncooled infrared sensors for airborne applications, is at Heli-Expo’10 (Booth No. 1628) to talk about its helicopter applications. Last year was an exceptional year internationally for EVS, said v-p of sales Bill Harwood. He noted that Poland ordered 23 Max-Viz EVS-1500 systems for its EC135s. Max-Viz is a qualified supplier of EVS-1500 systems for factory installation on new aircraft from both Agusta-Italy and Eurocopter-Germany, for new production A109, AW139 and EC135 helos.

European EMS operators are embracing EVS. Rega Switzerland, a mountain rescue and EMS provider, has ordered 11 A109 DaVincis with EVS-1000 systems that are used in conjunction with night-vision goggles. Five are now in service.

More than 1,500 EVS systems are flying today and, said Lou Churchville, Max-Viz v-p for business development, “There has never been a [fatal] accident involving an aircraft with an operating EVS.”  

In January 2009 the Helicopter Association International, the Association of Air Medical Services and the Air Medical Operators Association jointly endorsed use of infrared EVS to improve night operation safety. Nevertheless, the FAA and NTSB have yet to affirmatively add EVS to H-Taws and NVG in their recommended helicopter EMS safety toolkits.

The original Max-Viz EVS-1000 system is now giving way to the dual field-of-view EVS-1500, with features specifically to meet helicopter requirements. Chuck Crompton, Max-Viz v-p for dealer sales, said that the Max-Viz EVS-1500 with operator-selectable “zoom” is the only EVS available with dual field-of-view capability. “Initial operator response to the EVS-1500 design has been exceptionally positive, especially in Europe and the Middle East,” he added. The EVS-1500 is interchangeable with the original Max-Viz EVS-1000.

The new Max-Viz EVS-100 and EVS-600 enhanced vision systems, priced beginning at about $20,000, target general aviation and piston helicopter operators who have indicated strong interest in a lower-cost EVS option. The Max-Viz EVS-100 and 600 series systems are now available on Robinson R44s and Cessna and Cirrus piston singles. Harwood said that about 50 percent of Cirrus buyers are ordering the EVS-600 as a factory option.

Similar in form and function to the EVS-1000/1500 series, the EVS-100 uses an uncooled 320- by 240-pixel focal plane array sensor to generate a long-wave (12 micron) infrared image. The newest Max-Viz offering, the EVS-600, features dual sensors, a long wave 8- to 14-micron infrared camera and a low-light, highly sensitive CMOS technology sensor to detect and display visible light sources, such as strobe lights integrated with the long-wave infrared imagery. The EVS-100 weighs less than 1.5 pounds. Its RS-170 video output is compatible with a variety of commercially qualified video displays.