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NVG Trials with BCFS

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On 7/8/2020 at 5:47 PM, Winnie said:

From having flown near fires with NVG's, that would be extremely helpful. you can even see hot spots that you can't see with naked eye close up at night. 

Tanking at night particularly would be great deal in the prairies for sure!

I'm curious how well low level hazards can be assessed with NVG, wires in particular, do you have any insight into that?

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11 hours ago, mcguire said:

I'm curious how well low level hazards can be assessed with NVG, wires in particular, do you have any insight into that?

Flying on goggles reguires the right training and the proper currency. Not something you just pickup and go. The hazards are quickly identifiable once you understand how they work....their limitations...and there are plenty. As for wires, NOPE. Same old story as in marginal weather (without goggles) you best find the towers first. As for fighting fires with them I would not hazard a guess how much risk would be involved. Doing quick turns to keep the customer happy with the amount of water you could lay out in one hour of flight time would be DRASTICALLY reduced from daylight productivity. If (imho) were trying to get even close to that productivity on goggles you more then likely would become a statistic.

 

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NVGs do require proper training, as RDM-1 states.  Peripheral vision is constrained to the lateral field of view within the overall reduced field of view of the goggles (hold a toilet paper tube about an inch or so from your eye and that will show how much your field of view can be reduced).  This leads to an increased need for constant scanning (head movement far left and far right - ie head on a swivel) as the peripheral vision is significantly reduced. Also your depth of field is affected by the goggles and height above terrain/obstacle judgement is affected in the low level environment - solution is a radar altimeter that pings when you hit your preset height above terrain floor (carrying a slung load? Don't forget to reset your radalt to account for the sling length below the helo).  Monochromatic goggles can hide obstacles in hilly terrain due to shadowing created by the ambient light.  Goggles can also "see" through thin overcast or light to moderate precip so you won't know you're in the clag/crappier weather until the anti-collider is reflecting off of the clouds if you continue to climb or if the clarity of terrain features starts to reduce. If the goggles don't have a HUD feature for key aircraft instruments, then you have to "look under" the goggles to check RRPM IAS, ALT, etc - have to raise your head slightly and look under the NVG tubes to see the NVG-compatible instrument panel. There's lots of theory that has to be built into a goggle programme and the implementation of a flying programme has to be crawl-walk-very light jog to get to a comfort level that is safe. 

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Thanks for the insight you two that's interesting stuff. Seems pretty specialized. I get that it has it's place like any high end specific skill we build, but seems like a lot of investment just to put a little bit of water on a tree. Both at the personal and company level - I can only imagine what a proper program would cost to build and implement. Interesting to see this, hope it works out for those involved and that everyone stays safe. Looks like Talon is taking the time to do it right (measuring in years so far).

My neck hurts just thinking of having to bounce my head around trying to get good situational awareness while looking through or peering under the system. Hats off to the people taking up the challenge.

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1 hour ago, RonnyRotor said:

What a ridiculous and dangerous thing to do when it’s not even required. 

Totally agree...but we get asked to do stuff like that all the time...ridiculous and risky...I could tell you some good stories about drip torching! Or back in the day when we used the ping pong balls to light a fire...have a really good one about the fire in the back seat!!!

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19 hours ago, mcguire said:

My neck hurts just thinking of having to bounce my head around trying to get good situational awareness while looking through or peering under the system. Hats off to the people taking up the challenge.

I can attest to the added fatigue of wearing goggles, you add a good 2lbs to your head, and it does certainly feel that way after 8 hours of continuous wear! 

 

As has been stated over, there are traps, and you have to be aware and be extra vigilant in both planning and execution of low level stuff, but it also has changed everything I ever thought I knew about night flying! Won't change back, that's for sure!

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i see the benefits of attacking a fire when its in its decay stage, cooling at night and slowing in its progression, compared to the heat of the day where it aggressively expands and grows and you watch from staging as there is no amount of water available to keep those BTU's under control.

 

but i also see the higher risk.

Approached properly with the right plan, I think Talon is leading the way on this, it will be a good thing even if it is only one tool in the tool chest to be used against a fire. taking a manageable risk and using it to your advantage is something people in aviation do every day with innovation.

if we took the omg thats dangerous line of thinking on everything, we may as well just park all our helicopters and walk away.

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1 hour ago, GrayHorizons said:

i see the benefits of attacking a fire when its in its decay stage, cooling at night and slowing in its progression, compared to the heat of the day where it aggressively expands and grows and you watch from staging as there is no amount of water available to keep those BTU's under control.

 

but i also see the higher risk.

Approached properly with the right plan, I think Talon is leading the way on this, it will be a good thing even if it is only one tool in the tool chest to be used against a fire. taking a manageable risk and using it to your advantage is something people in aviation do every day with innovation.

if we took the omg thats dangerous line of thinking on everything, we may as well just park all our helicopters and walk away.

I remember when long lining was touted as too dangerous, look how that turned out. If there is a demand it will happen, and technology will improve.

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Another Tool yes, but maybe better suited for the built up areas of Southern California. The daylight is abundant north of 49 in the summer months and hitting the fire before noon and the heat of the day is probably a better option. Something the forest services have yet to figure out in the 25yrs I’ve been flying. But who am I to argue as it just leads to bigger fires and bigger paychecks. 

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