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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Eurocopter Gets NVG Nod for EC145

PRODUCTS/MISSION EQUIPMENT

Eurocopter has won U.S. and European certification of a night-vision capable cockpit for the EC145.

The manufacturer appears to be the first OEM to offer an option for night-vision-capable cockpit instruments and lighting for a civil aircraft off the production line. Aircraft with that capability to date got it through lengthy post-delivery modifications and certifications.

The certifications Eurocopter gained include FAA approval of ITT Night Vision’s F 4949 night-vision goggles (NVGs) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval for Noga Light’s NL-93 NVGs for use in the EC145. The certifications are an outgrowth of the U.S. Army picking the EC145 as its new Light Utility Helicopter. The Army specified an NVG-capable aircraft.

The effect of the certifications may be narrow. The approvals are for the EC145 configuration flown by the French Sécurité Civile public-safety agency. Any deviation from that setup would require separate certification. However, Eurocopter officials said, having a baseline night-vision certification might simplify the process of winning approval for other configurations.

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