After receiving full authorization on 17 December 2010 from Irish Defense Forces to conduct night operations using Night Vision, Irish Defense Forces Air Corps based at Casement Aerodome, Baldonnel Co. Dublin Ireland recently transported a sick patient at night in poor weather conditions thanks to the Night Vision Goggles and Training conducted by Aviation Specialties Unlimited, (ASU).
The patient was transported from Cork University Hospital to Baldonnel and ultimately to Tallaght Hospital according to Michael Lavery of The Evening Herald in an AW 139. This was the second mission of this nature in over two weeks of extreme winter conditions.
The Irish Air Corps chose ASU as their sole source provider for 21 Night Vision Goggles, pilot and crewmember initial and advanced training, goggle lab equipment and maintenance training. The Air Corps operates four Eurocopter EC-135 P-2, T-2 and six Agusta Westland AW-139 in various Military and Public roles including two EC -135 T-2’s dedicated to the support of An Garda Síochána Air Support Unit (Irish Police Force).
In little more than two years, the Air Corps and ASU have completed initial training for 100 pilots and crewmembers, as well as six Night Vision Goggle Flight Instructors. Additionally, the Air Corps and ASU completed training for eight pilots and 16 crewmembers in advanced Night Vision Goggle Flight Training including fast rope, rescue hoist, formation flight and aerial gunnery. To date, the Air Corps has flown approximately 1600 hours of Night Vision Goggle time.
“Ultimately everything we do at ASU is to further safety in aviation,” said ASU Founder and CEO Mike Atwood. “This is a prime example of how our training and equipment is used to save lives when necessary. Ideally no one would need to fly in these conditions, but if they do, Night Vision Goggles can improve the ability to do so safely.