Air Methods Corporation announces that its fleet of 368 air medical helicopters is fully outfitted with night vision goggle (NVG) capability. With this milestone, Air Methods’ fleet is now the largest civilian helicopter fleet in the world to be fully outfitted with NVG technology. NVGs enhance visibility during night transports so crews can better detect hazards and obstructions and have greater situational awareness.
“Air Methods is extremely proud to have met this key safety objective,” says Aaron Todd, chief executive officer at Air Methods. “With the largest air medical fleet in the industry, we anticipated 100-percent NVG compliance was going to take time to complete. The team remained diligent in the effort because we believe NVGs, coupled with our standard suite of advanced cockpit technologies, keep our crews and patients safe during night operations and further enhance the safety of our operations.”
Installing and requiring that pilots use night vision imaging systems for visual flight rules operations at night was an item included in the 2009 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations to public helicopter emergency medical services operators. This accomplishment is part of the framework of the company’s FAA voluntary safety management system (SMS) program. The SMS program is an organizational framework created and implemented by the FAA to systematically guide, track and provide recognition for safety efforts by commercial air operators. In May 2013, Air Methods successfully reached the highest level (level four, continuous improvement stage) of the program.