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Safety NVGs


Considerations


The main benefit of NVIS implementation is improved safety performance. “The proper use of


has


enhanced night safety for operators, specifically the ones tasked to perform flight duties into and out of scene landing sites,” says Aldous.


It should be noted, however, that operations with NVIS do not provide for alleviations in terms of lower minima for visibility, weather,


a safety


think NVIS filtration is a simple matter of applying some NVG film to some of their equipment. NVIS aircraft modifications should always be performed to


standards published by altitude, crew day,


etc. “NVGs are an added safety precaution that provides the pilot with additional situational awareness. From


standpoint it is also important to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly before takeoff, that NVGs are calibrated, that cockpit lighting is secure and operational, and that the aircraft is maintained and in good condition,” says Stubbs. “Moreover,


training


is also fundamental as night operations have always been a challenge; it is important to have proper training and maintain currency.”


Aldous says, “Properly maintaining the NVIS system should be top priority.


This


is driven by management, enforced by the unit managers, and practiced by the operators.” A well organized and comprehensive set of standard operating procedures should be implemented to set the organization’s framework; for example, the ‘left and right’ limits.


As part of NVIS adoption, a comprehensive implementation plan should be developed that includes aircraft modification as evaluated by a competent authority. “There are still people and organizations that


the FAA and EASA”, says Harris. “Those that do not do so will certainly experience incompatible light reflections during flight, usually in the most demanding conditions where the risk is greatest. Competent authorities that do not require NVIS supplemental type certificates (STC) but allow non-STC modifications that are not evaluated by inspectors trained in NVIS evaluations are accepting increased risk.”


Also, a good safety practice is to ensure that initial and recurrent training is conducted by instructors with significant civil NVG experience. “While there are a great number of well experienced military NVG instructors entering the civil market, their training is all based on tactical operations, the exact opposite of civil NVG flight operations. While military pilots bring valuable NVG experience, in my experience, they


are never


able to effectively teach proper use of aircraft searchlights and how those lights can more than double the effectiveness of NVGs,” says Harris. “They often think that infrared (IR) searchlights are a good NVG tool, when in fact they are a very poor tool, suitable only for tactical/covert operations that have no place in civil operations. They can damage the retinas of bystanders or first responders on the ground who look up at a landing helicopter.”


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