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mentation of NVGs into the civilian industry was facilitated by heavy mili- tary influence. Most of the FAA personnel selected for NVG implementa- tion into civilian aviation were selected based upon their previous military NVG experience. For this reason, what many believe to be subjective opin- ion for multi-crew NVG operations below 300 feet AGL became policy. The question is whether this was a data driven decision or a decision

based upon subjective opinion? No one within the FAA denies that subjec- tivity often drives policy. The policy surrounding NVG implementation is rid- dled with subjective perspectives. What must be remembered is that the subjective opinion of FAA per-

sonnel regarding multi-crew NVG policy is often based on actual NVG experience of crew concept. As an industry, embracing such experience is paramount to safely implementing NVGs into civilian aviation. In many cases, the FAA admittedly defaulted to a more sterile, conservative approach to NVG implementation and policy development. In 2000, the FAA approached RTCA, Inc. to research appropriate imple-

mentation options for NVGs into the civilian aviation industry. During these committee meetings, debates over pilot-only versus multi-crew NVG opera- tions were had. Today we see the compromise of this debate. The FAA per- mits pilot-only NVG flight unrestricted throughout the United States National Airspace System. For NVG flights within 300 feet AGL of the earth’s sur- face, you will need a second set of eyes on NVGs to do it.

ARE TWO HEADS BETTER THAN ONE? Not always! To be an effective NVG crewmember, the individual needs

to have aptitude, attitude, and experience. Initially, experience is substituted by training. The quality of an NVG equipped crewmember begins in the class- room. To develop the skills needed to function as an NVG equipped crewmember, a comprehensive NVG training program is paramount. A poorly trained NVG crewmember is a liability to safety much like a poorly trained pilot. If using a second NVG crewmember, a set of requirements that mirror

those of their pilot counterparts need to be mandated. These requirements may include 1) a minimum number of NVG flights before acting as second NVG crewmember, 2) a minimum number of NVG flight operations within a specified timeframe, and 3) a set procedure to regain NVG recent experi- ence if time between uses is lengthy.

Although not regulatory, many NVG operators have proactively imple- mented procedures to address these issues.

SUMMARY To use a baseball analogy, a catcher is behind home plate based on the

belief the batter will periodically miss the ball. Having an NVG equipped crewmember would then be prudent if there is a belief the pilot may miss an obstacle or other hazard to the flight. However, in batting practice a fence is used for the same purpose as a catcher. For pilot-only NVG operations, pilot- only policies and procedures would have the same affect and ensure safety of flight operations. A recently conducted NEMSPA survey of nearly 700 HEMS pilots

showed that the vast majority of pilots preferred having a second set of eyes during NVG operations. However, that same survey revealed that those same pilots did not want to be restricted from accomplishing an NVG operation simply because that second crewmember was not available, or did not have NVGs available. Whether an operation chooses to operate NVGs pilot-only or multi-

crew should be the decision of the operator. Either operation can be con- ducted safely with proper training, procedures, and oversight. This author believes proactive oversight providing for pilot-only NVG

operations below 300 feet AGL would require a similar thought process of a single-pilot IFR flight program. Not all aircraft may be appropriate for pilot- only NVG operations. In those cases, the operator would decide what is best for them and the equipment must meet the requirements. It is not possible, nor practical to set a single standard for all NVG oper-

ations. Simply based on the diversity of type of operations within aviation, flexibility within the NVG oversight community would prove beneficial to all. abcd

Randy Rowles is the VP Business Development & NVG Training

Programs for Night Flight Concepts of Port St. Lucie, Florida. He is also an active EMS pilot with Children's Medical Center of Dallas. He serves a Board Member for NEMSPA and is the Chairman of HAI's Flight Training Committee. He and his wife Samantha reside in Ft. Worth, Texas.

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