Crash prompts ORNGE to consider night vision goggles
Goggles allow a pilot to see the terrain at night instead of relying on instruments
The air ambulance service in Ontario says it is studying whether to adopt goggles for its pilots, following a night-time helicopter crash that killed four people.
On May 30, a helicopter crashed not long after takeoff near Moosonee.
The incident killed all four men on board, including Captian Don Filliter of Skead, Paramedic Dustin Dagenais of Moose Factory, Paramedic Chris Snowball of Burlington and First Officer Jacques Dupuy of Otterburn-Park, Que.
The Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation of the crash and said, so far, no mechanical issues have come up.
Not a 'safety silver bullet'
But what has come up is the idea of using night vision goggles, Transportation Safety Board investigator Daryl Collins said.
"It’s safe to say that there’s an enormous amount of support for the use of night vision goggles for night operations," he said. "More operations have begun to adopt night vision goggles."
The goggles are being used in other parts of Canada to help augment safety measures.
The vice-president of EMS operations for Canadian Helicopters Ltd., which was once under contract to ORNGE until last year, said the goggles allow a pilot to see the terrain at night instead of relying on instruments.
"I think we have to be careful not to regard [night vision goggles] as the safety silver bullet," Rob Bakely explained. "We believe it can increase safety."
It costs roughly $100,000 to alter an aircraft to use the goggles, Blakely said.
Pilots would also require initial and on-going training.