By S.L. Fuller | September 8, 2017
Night-vision technology company Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Sikorsky S-92A. ASU said it obtained the certification for a Bristow aircraft operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The S-92A not only plays a critical role transporting personnel to and from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, but it also is an essential emergency search and rescue aircraft capable of providing the needed support in a variety of critical and often times dangerous situations,” said ASU VP of Engineering Kip McDermott. “Flying aircraft at night in the Gulf of Mexico in near dark conditions to evacuate people in an emergency is not a luxury. It is a necessity. With the approval of the S-92A [night-vision-imaging system] STC, Bristow has added another essential level of safety to night operations.”
ASU said it now has more than 90 make/model STCs on 1,200 aircraft.
“This STC will pay off if even one life is saved because of Gulf Coast operators being able to fly with NVGs,” said ASU President Jim Winkel. “No matter what the aircraft is or where the aircraft flies, we believe night-vision goggles enhance safety and help people get home safe. That is why we continue to champion the message of night-vision goggles use in search and rescue, law enforcement, helicopter air ambulance and special missions around the world.”
ASU also champions the technology’s use in firefighting. The company’s director of operations, Justin Watlington, spoke with R&WI in July about the technology’s importance.
“We've seen our accident numbers in EMS go down tremendously with night controlled-flight-into-terrain incidents since the general use of night-vision goggles,” Watlington said, arguing that aerial firefighting is in the same stage as air ambulances in the early 2000s. “We're just kind of getting started right now. I really think that there is a true interest in putting the fire out. Fighting fire at night is an essential part of that.”