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.
The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada models 206, 206A, 206A-1, 206B, 206B-1, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 with Aviation Specialties Unlimited night-vision imaging system lighting modified by STC SR01383SE. It requires determining the date of STC installation and whether the aircraft has an unfiltered turbine outlet temperature internal over-temperature warning light, and based on those findings, installing an NVIS filter. The U.S.
Saab Electronic Defense Systems is introducing Rigs, a lightweight, compact, enhanced-vision product for business aircraft and helicopters that can display navigation, attitude, flight, reticle and video information to the crew in a head-up display (HUD) presentation. Its open-system architecture makes Rigs ideal for integration into a variety of forward-looking infrared, flight data display and avionics suites.
Saab Electronic Defense Systems is introducing Rigs, a lightweight, compact product for business aircraft and helicopters that can display navigation, attitude, flight, reticle and video information to the crew in a head-up display (HUD) presentation. Rigs conforms to European TSO requirements applicable to HUDs for transport aircraft, as well as night-vision-goggle requirements. It can be used simultaneously with NVG and the information can be presented in either red or green, depending on the flight application.
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