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.
Elbit Systems is launching two new products here at Heli-Expo. The first, SkyVis, combines Elbit’s proven helmet-mounted display (HMD) with commercially certifiable line-of-sight and daytime head-up display capabilities, day or night, with or without night-vision goggles (NVG), in all phases of flight and in marginal weather.
Elbit also is unveiling Clearvision Heli EVS, a multi-spectral enhanced vision system designed for helicopters that provides improved situational awareness. Heli EVS builds on the company’s Clearvision EVS system designed for business jets.
Elbit Systems is launching two new products this week at Heli-Expo: SkyVis and Clearvision Heli EVS. SkyVis combines Elbit’s helmet-mounted display with commercially certifiable line-of-sight and daytime head-up display capabilities, day or night, with or without night-vision goggles, in all phases of flight and in marginal weather. Clearvision Heli EVS is a multi-spectral enhanced vision system designed for helicopters that provides improved situational awareness. It offers a 35-degree field of view and is designed to help pilots cope with low-visibility conditions.
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.
Inaer France received on March 22 what it claims is the first approval in that country for a commercial helicopter operator to use night-vision goggles (NVG). France is relatively late adopting NVG operations, as most Avincis group operators already had such an approval, Frédéric Goig, CEO of the Le Cannet des Maures-based company, told AIN. Avincis is the name chosen late last year for the merged Inaer and Bond.
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.
Lifting off from Fullerton Airport in the back of an Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Bell 412EP, the nighttime world of Southern California exploded into a vast ocean of suburban lights, interspersed with darker but clearly visible unlit areas, and all intersected by pulsing bright currents of car-clogged streets.
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.
The Night Vision Advisory Council (NVAC) will hold its first formal meeting on September 19 on the eve of the annual Night Vision Conference (NightCon 2012) in Dallas. NVAC was formed at the request of the FAA to provide industry input into night vision recommendations and regulation. NVAC members include NVG manufacturers, trainers and operators. NightCon 2012 will be held at the Dallas DoubleTree hotel, September 20 and 21. For more information log onto www.nightcon.com.
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