Aviat Aircraft has become the first general aviation manufacturer to offer a low-cost enhanced vision system for light airplanes.
Aviat president Stu Horn announced at AirVenture that the low-cost ForwardVision EVS-100 enhanced vision system is available as optional equipment on new Huskys and as a retrofit to existing Huskys. Previously, the only EVS systems offered by aircraft manufacturers have been much higher priced, intended for airliners and large business jets.
“Aviat is taking the lead in GA small aircraft safety,” Horn stated.
The EVS-100 uses long-wave infrared detection and processing to let pilots see at least eight times what the naked eye can see at night, in snow storms, fog and smoke, utilizing a low-cost, uncooled night vision system. It has “a significant bearing on a pilot’s ability to negotiate a survivable landing” at night or in dense haze, particularly in a dead-stick situation, Horn said.
The ForwardVision system also is useful to avoid runway incursions and to see and avoid other aircraft during night flight, said Patrick Farrell, inventor of the system and head of ForwardVision. It will reveal people or animals on a runway at night, when human vision ordinarily would not see what actually is there, he pointed out.
“Aviat Aircraft was attracted to the ForwardVision technology because of what it will do for situational awareness and how it will enhance safety,” Horn said. “This is clearly the most significant advancement in technology since the introduction of GPS or EFIS.”
Aviat already has been approached by government agencies interested in using Huskys for border patrol, wildfire management and search and rescue, Horn said, “but it is GA pilots who are going to be most grateful for this eye in the sky technology whenever they get into MVFR or worse conditions.”
The ForwardVision system includes a 1.2-pound infrared sensor in a streamlined housing that can be mounted above the cockpit or scabbed onto the cowling. The display can be mounted in a variety of cockpit locations, providing a 40°-wide image of what’s ahead of the aircraft, Farrell explained. The sensor package is hermetically sealed and filled with dry nitrogen to guard against moisture and dust. Heaters prevent ice buildup and a sensor protects the unit if it is pointed toward the Sun.
The system has been tested to, and is expected to have a useful life of, more than 9,000 hours, Farrell said. It is designed to be maintenance-free throughout its operating life.
Aviat is offering the installed system for $22,000 in new Husky aircraft and will retrofit it to earlier models for the same price, Horn said.
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