Forward Vision, a pioneer in low-cost infra-red night vision for small aircraft, has teamed with Max-Viz, the pioneer in (relatively) low cost night vision systems for the high end of general aviation, up to and including Boeing Business Jets.
Sharing technologies, the two companies anticipate improved products and cost savings throughout their product lines, say Patrick Farrell of Forward Vision and Lou Churchville of Max-Viz. Both companies speak in terms of “enhanced vision,” and anyone seeing their demonstrations understands how very much “enhanced” night vision can be.
The latest Forward Vision system is the tiny EVS-100, which weighs 1.2 pounds and is housed in an aerodynamic fairing about the size of today’s small conformal antennas. Advanced image processing is utilized to “optimize the image during all phases of flight,” Farrell said. A sensor prevents bloom or burnout if the “eye” is aimed at the sun. A digital zoom feature lets pilots vary the field of view from wide-angle to a narrow tunnel down the runway, so obstacles can be seen clearly during taxi and ground roll.
The EVS-100 can be mounted almost anywhere it can look forward, Farrell said, including on top of a cowl looking through the propeller, which “has minimal effect on image quality.”
Using a high-resolution gray-scale screen rather than more typical high contrast, the EVS-100 almost literally gives pilots a day-for-night view of the world outside the cockpit. Other airplanes, people, animals and runway lights (except for the newest LED lights) appear sharply against the night. Anyone who has encountered deer on a runway, for example, will appreciate the clear view. Farrell’s demonstration clearly shows the astonishing difference between what the eye sees and what the EVS-100 monitor shows in the dark of night.
However, the system is almost equally valuable in daylight, Farrell says. It easily picks out the heat signatures of air traffic, almost always before it can be spotted by eye, he said, and he has the pictures to prove it.
The little EVS-100 is “a direct descendent of the Max-Viz EVS-1000, used successfully on corporate jets, turboprops and helicopters,” Churchville said. Max-Viz has 40-some STCs for such installations and has sold nearly 250 systems, he added. Forward Vision has more than 80 EVS systems installed and flying, Farrell said.
“Jointly with Max-Viz, we have committed to be the number one provider of this technology to general aviation,” Farrell stated. “We are committed to pushing and pulling this technology into the general aviation fleet in order to improve flight safety and meet mission profiles,” he concluded.
Currently available for Experimental aircraft at a base price of $14,995, Farrell says that he hopes to keep that price for the forthcoming STCd version.
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