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.
Night vision device
Befitting the vertical lift that members of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) provide to the world, on the eve of Heli-Expo 2014, association president Matt Zuccaro pronounced the state of the industry “very up.”
“Air tours are doing well, corporate operations have re-established themselves and offshore oil and gas work is very busy right now, so it’s a pretty positive picture,” Zuccaro said. Nonetheless, the industry faces challenges including a potential shortage of pilots and mechanics.
Vision system manufacturer Intevac Photonics of Santa Clara, Calif., planned to begin deliveries of new night-vision cameras for U.S. Army AH-64D/E helicopters this month, after receiving its largest-ever contract award from the service earlier this year.
The M611 camera, which contains the company’s ISIE (intevac silicon imaging engine) 11 sensor for low light level detection, replaces the existing camera in the Apache’s nose-mounted pilot night vision sensor (PNVS). The ISIE 11 sensor is also being integrated in the F-35 helmet-mounted display system (HMDS).
Unlimited (ASU) has completed a cockpit modification for night-vision-goggle compatibility in a Eurocopter AS 365N3 Dauphin, the first helicopter to get such equipment in the Gyeon Buk fire aviation department in South Korea. Following the installation of ITT goggles, the Boise, Idaho-based company trained the department’s aircrews. The aircraft will be used for night search-and-rescue missions.
Nivisys Industries received the first FAA TSO-C164 approval for its NVAG-6 night-vision aviator goggle. According to Nivisys, it is the first night-vision goggle (NVG) manufacturer to apply for and also first to receive FAA technical standard order (TSO) approval. “Nivisys decided two years ago that aviation safety hinged on FAA-approved NVGs,” said Gary Higman, manager of law enforcement and homeland security programs for Nivisys.
To take a place in the top ten United States defense companies represents an achievement by any measure, and ITT (Stand No. P51) continues to raise its profile in the wake of the recent key acquisition of EDO, renowned as a major supplier of weapons release systems.
The FAA is proposing a technical standard order (TSO) for night vision goggles. If adopted, TSO C-164 would set the minimum performance levels for such devices. Night vision goggles are growing in popularity among some operators as a means of enhancing the view outside aircraft in night VMC, improving situational awareness. The FAA notes that this equipment is portable, battery operated and is independent of aircraft systems.
Eurocopter AS 350 B3, Pilar, N.M., Jan. 29, 2005–The NTSB blamed the accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain control and his improper use of night-vision goggles (NVGs). His spatial disorientation, self-induced pressure to return the helicopter to its home base, lack of experience in the use of NVGs, use of exterior lights on a dark night, under overcast skies and against snow-covered terrain, were listed as contributing factors.