February 23, 2009
By Dave Hirschman
RotorWay believes so strongly in the potential safety enhancements infrared enhanced vision (EV) systems offer that it will subsidize the cost adding Forward Vision EV products to its two-seat kit and planned certified, turbine helicopters.
“We’ve partnered with Forward Vision to offer this option on our helicopters, and we believe so strongly in it that we’ll cover a portion of the costs,” RotorWay CEO Grant Norwitz announced Feb. 23 at the Helicopter Association International’s convention in Anaheim, Calif. “No other [EV system] on the planet can compete on quality or price range.”
RotorWay will add a Forward Vision EV system as a $15,000 option. Similar systems on fixed-wing aircraft typically sell for $23,000 to $25,000. Norwitz said RotorWay will absorb research, development, and other costs he estimated at up to $10,000 per unit.
The 1.2-pound infrared camera and display system is meant to dramatically improve flight safety in night and low-visibility conditions. GPS-based synthetic vision shows terrain, but it can’t spot deer on a runway or obstacles such as cell phone towers or wires that aren’t part of a database. EV also can help helicopter crews in disorienting “brown out” conditions caused by swirling dust.
“(EV) makes our aircraft a very, very functional vehicle,” Norwitz said.
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