Heli-Expo 2014 brings big news for Idaho-based Aviation Specialties Unlimited (Booth No. 802). On the heels of its announcement that the company has completed its 800th night vision cockpit modification, including exterior high intensity LED navigation lights and aft cabin lighting just before the show (an AW139 for Construction Helicopters), it also announced that it has a new v-p and chief technology officer, Dr. Joseph Estrera.
Thales (Stand 845) is demonstrating a futuristic in-flight entertainment (IFE) system using eye-tracking and gesture controls here at Dubai 2013. It could enter into service in two to three years from now in business and first classes, according to Christopher Mondragon, product design senior manager.
The use of NVGs in civil helicopters is still in its infancy, so obtaining approval for night operations, including those with night-vision goggles (NVGs), remains a lengthy and tricky process, according to European helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) operators. During a conference at Helitech, a number of HEMS operators shared their experiences obtaining such approvals and discussed challenges that regulators should mediate to ease the burden on operators.
Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) is demonstrating night-vision goggle (NVG) technology during this year’s NBAA Convention. Attendees can experience NVGs in the demonstration trailer at the company’s booth (No. C9832).
ASU, based in Boise, Idaho, provides NVG equipment, cockpit modifications, pilot training and goggle maintenance, and holds supplemental type certificates (STCs) on multiple fixed-wing aircraft. Operators can have NVG cockpit lighting solutions installed at the company’s FAA Part 145 repair station in Boise or at the customer’s facility.
Night vision goggle (NVG) technology provider Rebtech, of Bedford Texas, announced the initial night-vision compatible conversion of an AS350B3 owned and operated by rotor training provider HeliStream. Rebtech (Booth No. N4724) provided both the supplemental type certified equipment and integration support for the conversion. Rebtech also modified the aircraft’s external lighting. The NVG-compatible lighting inside and outside the helicopter will allow HeliStream to provide specialized NVG training for both initial pilot transition and recurrent training.
Night-vision goggles (NVG) are rapidly becoming a mainstream tool in many helicopter operations, to the extent that NVG pilot training is available at many more schools, more avionics and electronic equipment is out-of-the box NVG-compatible and prices of goggles are one of the few aviation items that has dropped in price, below the rate of inflation.
Goggles are made by the two major manufacturers–ITT Exelis and L-3–and still cost at least $10,000, but the likelihood that new pilots entering the rotorcraft profession will be wearing the devices is higher than ever.