Mike Atwood Awarded Safety Award at APSCON 2023

Mike Atwood Receives APSA Safety Award from Jack Harris at MD Helicopters

The Airborne Public Safety Association (APSA) recognized Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) founder and CEO Mike Atwood at its annual APSCON convention in Orlando this month with the Public Safety Award sponsored by MD Helicopters. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a longstanding and continuing dedication to airborne law enforcement safety.

“It was nice to be recognized with this award, but the real heroes are the men and women that use Night Vision Goggles daily to help serve and protect every community in our nation,” said Atwood. “Seeing so many long-term customers, friends, and industry leaders was great.”

In 1968,  APSA began to present this award to members to support and encourage the use of aircraft in public safety. APSA is a non-profit education, individual membership organization providing networking systems, educational seminars, and product expositions that members find invaluable.

This dedication can be measured by documented achievements in the areas of, but not limited to, management, safety, education and maintenance that significantly improved the safety of an airborne law enforcement unit or the airborne law enforcement industry.

Mike Atwood spent his 43-year career in the night vision industry with the U.S. Army, Idaho National Guard, Idaho National Laboratory and ASU. During his time in the Army, Atwood accumulated close to 2,000 hours flying under NVGs, starting with the first goggle ever approved for night flight, the AN/PVS-5 Cut-Away. He later advanced to the AN/AVS-6 Aviators Night Vision Imaging System and AN/AVS-7 ANVIS Heads-Up Display. Atwood served as an instructor pilot for the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter.  Following his active Army service, he joined the Idaho National Guard as a pilot. He retired in 2000 with the rank of chief warrant officer 4.

The decorated pilot founded ASU in 1995 with the goal of clearing NVGs for use in civilian emergency medical services operations. Atwood and his team’s effort resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration authorizing NVGs for EMS personnel use in 1999. Since then, equipment and training provided by ASU has benefitted citizens around the world.

“I also want to thank all the men and women at ASU that share my passion for safety. NVGs are a vital part of the safety and security of nighttime operations. Every week, you can find ASU employees worldwide helping law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, air ambulance operations, search and rescue missions, and other local, state, federal and national operators learn to use NVGs. I received this award, but truly this award belongs with everyone ASU that has championed the message of using NVGs,” concluded Atwood.

ASU has put more than 5,000 NVGs into EMS operations world-wide and modified aircraft lighting in nearly 1,500 individual aircraft. Additionally, the company has subsequently provided training to more than 6,000 pilots and crewmembers.

Photo caption: Mike Atwood receiving the APSA Safety Award from John (Jack) Harris of MD Helicopters, who sponsored the award.

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