Erickson S-64 FAA certified for NVG operations
The certification offers customers increased flexibility and expanded operational capabilities
An Erickson Incorporated S-64F Air Crane helicopter has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for night vision goggles (NVG) operation.
The approval was granted on 6 April 2023 and is a key component of Erickson’s integrated NVG program, which aims to offer customers increased flexibility and expanded operational capabilities. This added proficiency presents the opportunity for increased tactical planning and agility in aerial firefighting and a variety of civil protection operations.
The company partnered with Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) to modify an S-64F to perform NVG operations. Simultaneously, Erickson pilots received NVG training and certification through ASU. Aircraft modifications and pilot certifications were completed in March, with FAA aircraft certification in April.
Regarding Erickson’s NVG capabilities, ASU Director of Operations Tony Tsantles said: “I had the pleasure of working with Erikson pilots personally; they are professional and prepared to conduct operations around the clock now. That is exciting, not just for themselves, but for their supported customers as well!”
Erickson’s approach to the NVG program development demonstrates the company’s ‘safety-first’ mentality. Program participants were able to operate outside of a fixed timetable, which resulted in the removal of any perceived pressures and allowed for optimal coordination, planning, and risk mitigation.
Erickson’s Director of Operations, Ray Touzeau, said: “Safety is the first and foremost aspect of the NVG training program. Erickson’s goal is always to be the master of our craft, with safe and effective operations being the marker of success.”
He also explained that risk mitigation strategies, such as employing extensive training and following detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs), regulatory protocols, and procedures will be paramount in achieving NVG safety and performance objectives.
Although manufactured in Oregon, many global operators use the Air Crane in their firefighting activities, including the Korea Forest Service who received their eighth S-64 in December last year.