ASU, AT Systems partner to take on spatial disorientation

Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Inc. (ASU), a trusted provider that’s been enhancing pilot visual acuity with night vision solutions for more than 25 years, has partnered with a training device innovator, AT Systems, to turn the tides—obscuring pilot sight—in the name of safety.

With a shared vision of advancing aviation safety, the companies formalized their partnership in February to sell and train with the AT Device to improve pilot training.

“DVE induced Spatial Disorientation has been the leading cause of fatal accidents for helicopter operations, said Co-Founder and instructor pilot Tyson Phillips. “After extensive analysis of accidents and training methodologies, we concluded that simulator training could not induce the vestibular illusions encountered during actual DVE events which led us to develop an in-flight training solution—the ATS Device.”

The ATS Device is a patented in-aircraft training device that trains pilots for DVE, such as inadvertent instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC) from reduced visual cues as with snow, dust, fog, and low-contrast environments.

The in-aircraft training device creates a Degraded Visual Environment for the training pilot in-flight with a visor that transitions from transparent to opaque, modeling a variety of real-world DVE and IIMC scenarios. The pre-programmed scenarios are automated  through a tablet running proprietary software, this automation allows the instructor/safety pilot to focus on the safety of the aircraft and the training of the pilot. The regularly updated accident scenarios replicate real-world historical accident conditions.

The ultra-lightweight visor can be head-mounted or helmet-mounted with no modification. It can be used day or night and is the only system that can be used with NVGs or HUD systems. This stand-alone training system requires no alternation to the aircraft for power or telemetry data.

“Our instructor pilots have all experienced the harsh effects of spatial disorientation. They instantly saw the value of in-flight training when they put the visor on and experienced it first-hand, said ASU Vice President of Business Development and experienced instructor pilot Chad St. Francis. “This partnership will ensure that effective, real-world training with the ATS Device will be integrated into training programs worldwide, reducing high accident rates occurring in these DVE environments and saving lives.”

Philips explained that the some of the patented features include built-in safeties and a needed layer of protection during the training. Training is automated and scenario-based, providing consistent training among the organization’s pilots; more importantly, the safety pilot is focused on the safety and training and not the manual control of the system.

Join ASU and AT Systems at Heli-Expo booth 5104 to see the AT Device in action as well as ASU’s trusted night vision solutions that save lives. Also, join us for the following Heli-Expo education sessions: ASU Chief Flight Instructor Tony Tsantles and Mr. John Roberts of the USDOT Transportation Safety Institute teach a safety course on Night Vision Goggles: Keeping it Cloud Free Sunday, March 6 from 1 to 5 pm and see Tyson Phillips, Co-Founder of AT Systems discuss Avoidance, Recognition, and Recovery Techniques for Spatial Disorientation Wednesday, March 9 at 9:30 am

About AT Systems:
AT Systems is a veteran-owned small business founded in 2016 by Andre Lavallee and Tyson Phillips in an effort to provide effective solutions to documented safety threats in helicopter operations. To learn more about AT Systems, call + 1 918-619-2141 or visit

To download a copy of the press release  click here.

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