HALO Rescue is getting closer to becoming a 24/7 medievac helicopter after acquiring night vision goggles for emergency flights in the dark.
The medievac helicopter only flys during the daytime for 14 hours at a time and the goal has been to expand their service through all hours of the night.
Night vision goggles are only attainable through the Alberta Transportation certificate.
HALO chief pilot Steve Harmer had past experience with night vision goggles having flown with the British Military and the Calgary Police Service.
“It like looking through an old black and white television,” said Harmer.
“In shades of green or shades of white. You don’t see colour but the light is magnified significantly, with the exception of LED light. But lights are magnified many thousands (of) times. There’s not direct light from the source to the eyeball.”
“The ability will allow us to go to most scene calls that we have. It will increase our capability. It will allow us to get to places like the Empress gas plants far easier.”
One of the training requirements will be to make sure the pilots are having a good scan, so if they do reach poor weather conditions the unaided eye sees the deterioration, he said.
“If your told that the weather is going to be a deterioration on route, you might not accept the mission in the first place,” said Harmer.
“Another factor is, is we can go to known locations. We can go to a new air field or what we’re proposing, to have known landing sites at numerous locations where we can meet with EMS on the ground.”
HALO is working with two American companies that were shortlisted and both are willing to work with the company moving forward.
The cost will be $150,000 to get four sets of goggles and training and will be funded from a charity involved with HALO. It is expected to be six months for the program to take effect.