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New Zealand's Skywork Helicopters selects Astronics EVS for safer flight in challenging conditions
Astronics Corporation, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Astronics Max-Viz, announced that New Zealand's Skywork Helicopters Ltd. is flying the world's first high resolution Max-Viz 1400 Enhanced Vision System (EVS) on a rotor wing aircraft.

The Astronics Max-Viz provides pilots real-time display for increased visibility in adverse weather conditions, such as darkness, precipitation, fog, dust, and smoke.

"The decision to select the Astronics Max-Viz 1400 was all about managing risk for our low-level operations by choosing infrared technology over autopilot," said Skywork Director/Chief Pilot Roger Stevenson.

The enhanced vision system, now operational on a Skywork Airbus AS350B3 helicopter, is the first to be installed in New Zealand for flight operation. The Astronics Max-Viz 1400 EVS, compatible with both rotor wing and fixed wing applications, was recently certified to DO-160G standards by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics.

Skywork operates a fleet of helicopters from four bases in New Zealand and has placed an initial order for three Max-Viz 1400s for installation.

Stevenson continued, "We have NVG cockpits and goggles for night VFR if required, however the Max-Viz EVS option is available at all times and the assurance provided by the system makes everyone feel safer during the day and at night. We are proud to be known in the aviation industry as a company that has an uncompromising attitude towards delivering the highest possible level of safety and service. We feel that adding the Astronics Max-Viz 1400s to our fleet will further enhance our reputation."

Oceania Aviation, Astronics Max-Viz's dealer in New Zealand, recently installed the Astronics Max-Viz EVS 1400 in the first of several Skywork helicopters to receive the new technology. Oceania Aviation is one of New Zealand's largest general aviation maintenance networks.

The New Zealand landscape, although breathtaking, offers even the most experienced pilot many challenges. New Zealand's geography and climate

are complex and vary from warm subtropical features in the far north to cool temperate climates in the far south, with severe alpine conditions in the mountainous areas.

Oceania Aviation Avionics Manager Philip Hutchings said, "Much is demanded of New Zealand pilots and aviation operators as they adjust to the demands of each condition and situation. With safety paramount in all flight conditions, Astronics Max-Viz 1400 enhances safety and reduces the risk of reduced visibility in many flight regimes while still flying under VFR rules."

Astronics Max-Viz Executive Vice President Elliott Troutman said, "It was a pleasure to work with Skywork Helicopters and Oceania Aviation on this project. The ruggedness and reliability of our system is well suited to Skywork's varied challenging missions in the New Zealand environment."

Features and benefits

Lightweight, solid state, low power system with a high resolution 640x480 uncooled thermal detector. The sensor image can be presented on any video-capable display that accepts composite video (RS-170) NTSC or PAL/Analog signals. The one and a half pound system features a digital image zoom capability, selectable image polarity, integral window heaters for operations from -55 to +70 degrees Celsius and pixel nonconformity correction.

The Max-Viz infrared enhanced vision system detects the differences in heat of objects and terrain in an airplane's environment, producing an accurate real-time picture of the surroundings in the absence of visible light. With thermal imaging, the EVS display enables pilots to see when flying day or night in smoke, haze, and light fog. The EVS can work as an alternative to, or in tandem with, light-based night-vision goggle technologies.

The Max-Viz 1400 will be on display at NBAA BACE, Orlando, November 1-3, booth #4245.

BlueSky Business Aviation News | 27th October 2016 | Issue #389