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Enhanced Vision Systems

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Hi everyone,


I've been in the Seattle area for a couple of days, and while I was down here, Max-Viz invited me to try out their demonstrator JetRanger, operated by Brad Pattison of Columbia Flyers (very cool guy!). So on Tuesday night I did about an hour in it around the Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor.


Wow! Although I had seen the EVS 1500 at Max-Viz's Heli-Expo booth, actually flying with the thing blew me away. We flew into a couple of "black holes" surrounded by high trees and also did a precision instrument approach into Tacoma Narrows (good thing I had just done my IPC!). In both cases the infrared display added a huge amount of safety and confidence. I couldn't help but recall a tense approach into an inhospitable unlit airstrip after dark a few years ago (details withheld to protect the guilty). What a non-event that would have been with an enhanced vision system.


As it happens, the last time I flew a JetRanger was during some NVG training around six months ago, so I was able to compare the technologies directly. Both have their place. The EVS offers a larger field of view, but it's fixed in front of the helicopter (with NVGs, of course, you can scan by turning your head). EVS might not be the ticket for military or law enforcement missions, but for simple, straight-ahead approaches there's a lot to be said for not having to wear those heavy goggles. And of course EVS doesn't require ambient lighting. I felt equally comfortable landing in the aforementioned black holes with NVGs and EVS (especially in combination with a radar altimeter).


Anyway, as cool as EVS technology is, I'm wondering why it doesn't seem to be more widely known? I didn't really know anything about it until early this year. Has anyone out there flown with EVS operationally? Considered flying with it? I would be interested to hear your experiences.





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