Prince Rupert based air ambulances are getting night vision. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Night vision for Rupert’s air ambulances

Night vision goggles will help reduce risks for air ambulance pilots on the North Coast

Between Prince Rupert and Vancouver, there are three helicopters suited for transporting patients under the B.C. Ambulance Service requirements. This month, a North Coast-based helicopter is the latest to be converted for compatibility with night vision goggles.

“It really enhances the safety of flying at night,” said Steven Morrow, one of the air ambulance pilots at the Helijet base in Prince Rupert.

The goggles, Morrow said, look like a small set of binoculars that attach to the pilot’s helmet. A pilot can see through them, but there’s enough room to look down at the cockpit.

“It’s a dark hole out there. ‘Night flight black hole’ is actually a term used for the dangers of flying at night. You leave Prince Rupert, it’s completely dark. You don’t see anything unless the moon is out and there’s no cloud — and that doesn’t happen too often around here.”

Before the installation of night vision technology, pilots had to fly at night by designated routes, and take cloud ceiling limitations into consideration.

“That means we’re 1,000 feet above any obstacle within three miles on either side of our track. Because it’s dark out there and you can’t see things, you’re assured you’re in a safe area if you’re on that track and you’re going to a destination.”

Morrow, who has more than 27 years of experience flying as an air ambulance pilot, said that once the helicopter returns to Prince Rupert, the pilots will undergo training with the new equipment. It may be four months before the newly-equipped helicopter is operational, Morrow said.

READ MORE: HEART OF OUR CITY – LOGGER TO PILOT, A WEST COAST DREAM

“Once we’ve reached that advanced level of experience, then we can actually bring that altitude down. Our weather requirements won’t be so stringent at night to be able to go flying,” he said.

The impact of the new equipment won’t be known until Helijet has used it for a while, but Morrow said it may allow them to go to new destinations during night routes.

In the meantime, Prince Rupert will use one of their older models, which features the same air ambulance kit. The night vision conversion comes six years after Vancouver and Prince Rupert upgraded their helicopters to the newer model of the Sikorsky 76C, which gave them more power, to stay up-to-date with their B.C. Air Ambulance Service contract.


 


keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Joie de vivre

Finding those “awe” moments with family, friends and food

Christians unite for one service in Rupert

Father Terry Brock is hoping to unite all of Prince Rupert’s Christians under one roof for one night

VIDEO: New whale rescue equipment comes to Rupert

Fisheries officers took to the water to practice saving stranded whales

Streeter: Do you think it’s important that the government holds discussions about poverty with the public?

Prince Rupert hosted the first public discussion on poverty by the province in 2018

Rupert recreation parking rent fees set to decrease in 2018

Proposed changes will make it easier for vendors and renters to use recreation facilities

This Week Episode 68

From inside the Northern View office in Prince Rupert we bring you all the news headlines

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

Most Read