The approval, announced on 5 October, covers modifications to the aircraft’s interior and exterior lighting, instruments and avionics.
These upgrades were evaluated by the FAA to certify the helicopter for operation in both day and nighttime conditions, both with and without the use of NVGs.
An NVG-configured R66 helicopter delivered to Florida’s Polk County Sheriff Office’s (PCSO) on 30 September served as the test bed for the certification process. The aircraft is the second of its type operated by the agency, with a third R66 scheduled for delivery in January 2023.
PCSO flies an average of around 1,100 hours per year, with much of the terrain covered consisting of lakes and flatlands with minimal illumination at night, making NVG essential. The agency was the focus of a Provider Profile in AirMed&Rescue’s July 2022 issue.