BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 8, 2022—Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU), in Boise, Idaho was named among 10 companies to receive DoD funding from the pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT) in a DoD press release issued July 19, 2022.
The funds are designated for the Initial procurement of next-generation widened field of view night vision goggles for aircrew with increased resolution and reduced weight for USSOCOM.
“We are honored that the DOD and USSOCOM have selected ASU to deliver an innovative, lightweight night vision goggles to the hands of warfighters,” said ASU VP of Business Development and Marketing Chad St. Francis. “This Lightweight Wide Field of View Aviation Goggle, currently in development, will give our aviators a significant nighttime combat advantage to accomplish their missions and return home safely.”
The purpose of the APFIT pilot program is to expeditiously transition technologies – with priority given to those developed by small businesses and/or nontraditional defense contractors – from pilot programs, prototype projects, and research projects into production. The benefits of this pilot will be to deliver war-winning capability earlier than scheduled while contributing to the viability of small business and nontraditional defense contractor vendors. APFIT is an additional tool the DoD can use to propel innovative capabilities across the “Valley of Death” and into the hands of the warfighter.
“APFIT holds great promise to transform the way the Department procures next generations solutions. This pilot program is well positioned to be a key asset as we continue to work to bridge the valley of death,” stated Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “The ten companies being funded will fill critical capability gaps. Without APFIT, their innovative technologies could take much longer to reach the hands of our warfighters.”
Read the full DoD release
The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre.
About Aviation Specialties Unlimited:
For more than 25 years, Aviation Specialties Unlimited Inc. (ASU) has proudly served those who protect and defend worldwide with Night Vision Solutions that Save Lives! Their experienced team supports safe and sustainable night vision programs with military-grade NVGs, flexible training, and custom aircraft lighting modifications to fit your needs. For more information, call +1 208-426-8117 or visit asu-nvg.com.
BOISE, Idaho, July 13, 2022—Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) announced that ASU veteran Tony Tsantles was promoted to FAA Part 135 Director of Operations.
“Tony has led the ASU training team through many successes worldwide. They have included the award and performance of multiple FAA training contracts, ongoing training with the Irish Air Corps, and unmatched custom training for air medical, law enforcement, and firefighting aircrews in the Treasure Valley’s diverse terrain,” said ASU Vice President of Aviation Operations Kip McDermott. “With more than 20 years of experience operating with night vision goggles, as both a crewmember and pilot, Tony has brought professionalism and expertise to our team and our customers, ensuring the safe and effective use of NVGs.”
The FAA mandated and approved position is critical in overseeing part 135 operations, including night vision training and aircraft maintenance. In his new role, Tsantles will bring valued know-how to the leadership team and lead new aviation initiatives as ASU continues to evolve.
Before joining the ASU here in Boise, Tsantles spent over twenty years developing his credentials in the U.S. Army. He spent nearly half of that time as an instructor, both as a crewmember and pilot. This unique background of functioning in both instructor roles has given him the ability to adapt quickly in civil instruction, particularly where he’s training pilots and crewmembers collectively, including EMS, law enforcement, and select groups. His Army career, spanning two decades, allowed the capability to work with two Army workhorse aircraft, the UH-1H “Huey” and UH-60A/L/M “Blackhawk,” both of which employ rather complex systems that prepared him well for the dynamic civil industry he now manages. Having spent much of his time in the military—11 years—in EMS, he is quite familiar with the challenges that can affect our civil EMS pilots and crews. Although he’s no longer being asked to fly in combat, with two trips overseas as a MEDEVAC pilot, he’s certainly ready for the new challenges ahead.
“I guess it’s rare to catch me speechless, but I may be just that. I love this organization and what we stand for; the core of what we believe is genuinely centered around the safety of aviators and crews,” said Tsantles. “I want to acknowledge our history with reverence and continue to focus on the future with partnerships in training, education, and culture.”
In recent months, Tsantles has spearheaded several educational engagement initiatives, including two such events, the Air Medical Transportation Conference and Heli-Expo trade shows.
Later this month, Tsantles will be instructing several courses at the Airborne Public Safety Convention in Reno, Nevada, from July 27 to 29. The sessions include a technical presentation on Spatial disorientation and NVGs with co-presenter Tyson Phillips of AT Systems Friday, July 29 at 11 a.m. and an education session at 3:30 p.m. on NVGs—Keeping it Cloud Free. ASU will also host a happy hour at ASU booth 322 on Thursday, July 28 noon to 4 p.m. See more APSCON details here.
BOISE, Idaho, June 1, 2022—Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) announced that 21-year ASU veteran, Kip McDermott, has been promoted to Vice President of Aviation Operations.
“Kip has been part of the ASU team since 2001. As one of the first employees of ASU, Kip has the institutional and industry experience to grow ASU’s existing training and flight operations,” said ASU President Dr. Joseph Estrera. Over the years, ASU has consistently relied on Kip for critical strategic and management oversight. Whether it’s ensuring an aircraft is operationally ready, conducting training, and pursuing his DER qualification, Kip has used his skills and talent to elevate ASU.”
The new position and newly created ASU Aviation Operations organization was established as a strategic consolidation of Aviation Services and Aircraft Services. The new organization encompasses NVG training, air carrier operations, contract maintenance, repair station, certification, and the NVG Service Center. In his new role with ASU, McDermott will provide leadership for the training and flight operations departments and organizational leadership for the long-term success of ASU.
Before receiving the promotion, McDermott served as the Vice President of Engineering and Executive Director of Business Development. He received his Airframe and Powerplant Certification in 1992 and Avionics and Electronics of America Inspection Authorization in 2002.
McDermott also served as a crew chief on various airframes, including the UH-1H, UH-60, and CH-47D, during his time in the United States Army and at Dyncorp Aerospace in Mannheim, Germany.
In recent months, McDermott has helped ASU advance several company initiatives, including working with operators to obtain EASA STCs on numerous aircraft. When McDermott started with ASU, he played a vital role in establishing proven night vision modification methodologies for aircraft lighting and streamlining certification.
Download the PDF version of this article here.
Published in AirMed&Rescue magazine by Mario Pierobon
Mario Pierobon looks at how training on the use of night vision goggles plays a significant role in framing their proper use by crews
Night vision goggles (NVG) are being increasingly used by helicopter as a standard practice for night operations, especially during rescues. Considering that the use of NVGs is safety sensitive, training on their use plays a significant role in framing the proper use of the goggles by crews...
Read the full article in AirMed&Rescue Magazine
BOISE, Idaho, May 3, 2022—Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) announced that it has received ISO 9001:2015 Certification on April 25.
Performance Review Institute (PRI) Registrar recognized ASU for having met the stringent requirements of this international standard, their ongoing commitment to satisfying stakeholders, and their dedication to continual improvement of their management system.
“ASU’s ISO 9001: 2015 Certification is a significant accomplishment for our organization that demonstrates our dedication to quality and continuous improvement. The team has invested significant time and energy into a robust quality management system to produce exceptional products with the highest quality standards that exceed our customers’ expectations,” said ASU President Dr. Joseph Estrera.
Before obtaining the certification, ASU hired Brian Davis as their new Quality Manager. Davis brought more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and quality to the new role on the ASU team. With a degree in Electrical Engineering, he has previously served in multiple positions where he streamlined processes, reduced waste, and improved quality. Before joining ASU, Davis worked as a Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Engineer, and most recently, the Director of Manufacturing for a local supplier to ASU.
“ASU has demonstrated its commitment to world-class quality and environmental management by implementing and becoming certified to the ISO 9001:2015 Certification standards. They have joined an elite number of organizations worldwide who have achieved certification to this globally recognized standard,” said Randy Daugharthy, Director of the Registrar Program at the Performance Review Institute Registrar. “PRI Registrar is proud to partner with ASU in this accomplishment and look forward to the continued support of their objective of quality/environmental excellence.”
ASU Chief Operations Officer Hannah Gordon led the push for certification—laying the groundwork by implementing numerous quality assurance, customer service, and enterprise resource planning initiatives.
“Brian is a vital part of ASU’s efforts to add greater value to our customers,” said Gordon. “He brings extensive experience in ISO 9001:2015 Certification. His 20 years of manufacturing standardization and quality improvement will help ASU to continually improve our manufacturing processes and deliver products that meet and exceed the highest quality standards.”
Download this press release
View ASU's Certification
About PRI Registrar
Since 1995, Performance Review Institute Registrar, a management systems registrar, has helped a multitude of organizations achieve and realize their true potential through the development of management systems and quality systems certification. As an affiliate of SAE International, PRI Registrar is a not-for-profit organization, uniquely motivated with a mission and commitment to raise the bar in any industry it serves. To learn more information, visit www.priregistrar.org or contact PRI Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
In celebration of World Trade Month during the month of May, the U.S. Commercial service will be hosting Export Week through May 2nd to May 6th, 2022. ASU was recently recognized by U.S. Commercial Services as Exporter of the Month in April. ASU is proud to be working with the U.S. Commercial Service and Idaho Commerce to support our international market entry and sales growth.
ASU utilizes Idaho's State Trade Expansion Program grants to grow their markets and recently had success through an International Partner Search service in Australia to make a sale through a new representative our research identified. ASU is active in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and recently participated in the SHOT Show and Singapore Air Show working with the U.S. Commercial Service and Idaho Commerce to support their international market entry and sales growth.
Learn more about ASU Reps
Training pilots in flight with a visor-based training device to overcome confusion from the visual and vestibular systems in degraded visual environments (DVE).
(BOISE, IDAHO) Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Inc. (ASU), a trusted provider modifying aircraft for civil and military night vision operations for more than 25 years, received notification from EASA that ASU has obtained STCs for the Bell 212, 412, AB212, AB412, and 412EP under a single EASA STC 10078190. The original STC from the FAA is SR01634SE.
Because of ASU's proven history with the FAA and EASA, ASU's Company Test Team can save customers time and money when navigating STC requirements for aircraft modifications for both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
"Our test team collaborated closely with the FAA and EASA for years," said ASU Vice President of Business Development and experienced instructor pilot Chad St. Francis. "Alex and Kip's experience allowed ASU to streamline the approval process, saving our customers from critical downtime and delays."
ASU's Chief Pilot Alexander Emmel, performing duties as an FAA and EASA Cat II Test Pilot, and Vice President of Aircraft Services Kip McDermott are both working on separate DER designations. They worked hand-in-hand with EASA to ensure everything was properly tested, documented, and certified to obtain the essential STC.
The STC for these aircraft was critical for ASU's partner, Global Helicopter Service, to equip their fleet for nighttime peacekeeping missions worldwide. Last year, ASU also obtained a similar STC on the H225 for United Nations missions in Africa.
"Saving our customers time and money is vital to getting them back to their peacekeeping missions," said Emmel. "ASU's mission is to help helicopter operators fly safely using NVGs. We can think of no better way to do this than to modify the aircraft lighting for night vision operations, assure pilots and crew are trained, and enable them to utilize the game-changing technology that NVGs offer."
Global Helicopter Service is an EASA approved helicopter company based in Kirchanschörng, Germany. GHS offers numerous services utilizing a flexible fleet of helicopters that includes the well known Sikorsky S76C++, the robust Bell 412 and the sophisticated Airbus H225.
"GHS is honoured to partner with ASU as a distributor for Europe providing required inspections and certifications as well as related services of advanced night vision technology products," said Dominik Goldfuss, CEO of GHS.
ASU currently holds more than 60 night vision STCs from the FAA, EASA, and other aviation administrations. Join ASU at Heli-Expo booth 5104 to discuss your STC requirements, aircraft modification needs, and night vision programs. Also, visit Global Helicopter Service GmbH to learn about their fleet and global operations at booth 6123.
Download EASA STC Press Release
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.
ASU continues its commitment to aviation safety by providing Night Vision Solutions that Save Lives. Night Vision Goggle (NVG) operations require the use of a radar altimeter “functioning in a normal manner, and approved for use by the FAA,” per 14 CFR §91.205. ASU recognizes the importance of understanding regulations, conditions, and limitations related to NVG operations and has developed this information to help you navigate the obstacle to 5G deployment.
Helicopter Association International (HAI) petitioned the FAA and was given a Partial Grant of Exception (No. 18973, Regulatory Docket No. FAA-2021-1028). https://www.regulations.gov/document/FAA-2021-1028-0030. The exception states:
“Part 119 certificate holders authorized to conduct HAA operations under part 135, subpart L, are granted an exemption from 14 CFR §§ 91.9(a) and 91.205(h)(7) to the extent necessary to conduct part 135 operations with NVGs, including night landings and takeoffs from unimproved or off-airport sites, in areas identified by NOTAM, in which the radar altimeter is unreliable and thus may not functioning normally due to 5G C-band interference.
The FAA denies the petition for relief from §§ 135.160(a) and 135.179(a), as the petitioner has not established the need for such relief.”
There are specific conditions and limitations stated in the exemption and must be followed by operators. Certificate holders who wish to exercise the exemption must submit a Letter of Intent to the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov), under Docket No. FAA-2021-1028.
As the 5G deployment may have significant impacts on your NVG operations, you may consider petitioning the FAA for an exemption for your organization. ASU has composed a similar petition for fixed-wing and rotor-wing NVG operations and followed the submittal process as listed below.
Copies of ASU’s petitions are here for your use as you see fit:
Currently, ASU (Boise, ID), is not in a 5G NOTAM area and is conducting normal operations. We do not know how long we will be “in the clear,” so we submitted the petition in an attempt to stay ahead of any changes to the BOI Airport area.
We have listed links to reference information that may be helpful as you make decisions and ensure your operations maintain the highest possible level of safety. The list is not exhaustive. Please consult your local FAA office for additional guidance.
Federal Register Links:
We will continue to update this page as we learn more. If you have any questions, please call Chris Schoonover, Director of Aviation Services, 208-287-5399.
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