Aviation Specialties Unlimited and UK operator Specialist Aviation Services have obtained UK CAA approval for the use of White Phosphor night vision goggles on the MD Explorer.
ASU president Jim Winkel says this is the first UK CAA approval for the use of White Phosphor NVGs. ASU expects demand to increase as more UK operators continue to experience the quality, clarity and definition that white phosphor goggles offer. Obtaining this first authorization is a big step towards advancing the safety of night operation and making white phosphor goggles more readily available for UK flight operations. [See ASU video below, Ed]
ASU formalized an agreement with SAS last month at Helitech International 2015 to serve UK based customers. ASU now has 36 STCs covering 65 makes and models of aircraft (rotary and fixed wing) around the world including STCs from the FAA, Transport Canada, EASA across much of Europe, and ANAC in Brazil. ASU has ambitious plans in place which will see many more STCs obtained globally for the new white phosphor goggles.
The choice of obtaining UK approval on the MD Explorer is more interesting. This helicopter type is clearly on the wane in the UK, with the National Police Air Service already parking up two Explorers and plans in place to take a further five out of operational use. Beyond that, Specialist Aviation Services are themselves working hard at selling (either outright or via operational leases) new AgustaWestland AW169s to current air ambulance operators, many of which are their own customers flying MD Explorers – including Kent/Surrey/Sussex and Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire. With SAS having reportedly placed their initial order for six AW169s already, we believe four or five will replace MD Explorers. Additionally, Yorkshire Air Ambulance have announced their intention to replace one of their Explorers with an Airbus H145.
Perhaps this suggests that ASU and Specialist Aviation Services will soon start work on white phosphor goggle approval on the AgustaWestland AW169?
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