The U.S. emergency medical services operator TriState Care Flight is shifting its crews to use of night-vision goggles.
The independent operator, which serves Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, has aircraft equipped and crews trained to use the ITT Night Vision Aviator Night-Vision Imaging System (ANVIS) 9 devices from four of its six bases. It aims to have all bases using them by mid-year. Its director of operations, Dave Muhr, said procedures call for the pilot and one crewmember to be on goggles when they are used.
Enhanced safety was the main reason for the change, he said. TriState worked with Aviation Specialties Unlimited in securing the goggles and training and winning FAA approval of the NVG use. TriState flies five AgustaWestland A119 Koalas and one A109E Power.
TriState has 27 pilots, about half of whom are ex-military. Of the former pilots, only a few had reservations about the goggles. "Now, 100 percent of our pilots are pro-NVG," Muhr said. Some ex-military pilots who had used early-generation NVGs had bad experiences with them, leaving them skeptical of the devices.
TriState’s bases in Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, Kingman, and Parker, Ariz have NVGs. The other bases are in Durango, Colo. and Santa Fe, N.M.