U's AirMed Gets Night-Vision Goggles; Technology to Turn Night to Day

U's AirMed Gets Night-Vision Goggles; Technology to Turn Night to Day

Feb 11, 2004 5:00 PM

AirMed's Bell 407 helicopter, one of three choppers in University of Utah Hospital's patient air transport service, is now fully equipped with night-vision goggles-the first medical transport aircraft in Utah to feature the sophisticated technology. The goggles dramatically magnify available light, allowing pilots and crews on life-saving medical missions to more easily see power lines, trees, light poles, and other potential hazards in the vast unlighted terrain of Utah's rugged rural landscape.

AirMed Program Director Ken Matthews, R.N., says full night-vision capabilities will greatly enhance safety of patients and crews on nighttime transports, which account for approximately 40 percent of AirMed flights. Modifications to the helicopter include retrofitting the cockpit's lights and illuminated gauges with filters to diffuse the bright light and potential for glare created when the goggles work their magic--magnifying ambient light 60,000 times.

"With a crew member and now, the pilot with enhanced night vision, every flight has an extra pair of eyes, which is especially valuable during takeoff and landing," according to Matthews.

Call Ken Matthews at 581-2500 and set up a time for a demonstration. The AirMed folks will figure a way to adapt your cameras to the goggles so that you can show the dramatic difference between what a pilot sees with the naked eye and with the night-vision technology.

Other safety initiatives that AirMed has taken over the last few years include pilot training in a full-motion simulator in Texas and the continuation of IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) ratings for pilot certification.

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