(BOISE, Idaho — July 9, 2020) Aviation Specialties Unlimited, (ASU) was awarded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Operations Inspectors and Aircraft Certification Pilots night vision goggle (NVG) contract while operating fixed-wing aircraft. ASU will provide both initial training and recurrent training to FAA beginning July 1, 2020. ASU initially began training the FAA in 2017, when they were awarded the first fixed-wing training contract. ASU first started training FAA pilots on helicopters in 2007.
“The FAA’s trust in ASU to train both their helicopter and fixed-wing flight standards Operations inspectors is a testament to the entire ASU team,” said ASU Director of Training, Josh Grier. “By awarding the training contract again to ASU, the FAA demonstrates that they remain confident in our knowledge and experience. ASU’s mission is to save lives through expansive training and products. ASU is committed to making sure that anyone using night vision goggles to aid in nighttime operations is properly trained and equipped for safe mission completions. Additionally, ASU’s pride lies in our training environment, which can replicate any environment just minutes from the Boise airport. ASU is the only training provider that can take a pilot from a high light, open desert environment to backcountry mountainous terrain with zero artificial light in a matter of a few minutes. This setting allows us to equip a pilot with the tools they need to operate safely in a plethora of scenarios and leave them with a wide range of experiences to function anywhere they may go”.
ASU’s training takes place in Boise, Idaho, in the high desert mountains and in remote areas where low-light conditions and challenging terrain make it ideal for training. ASU has trained pilots and crews from around the world that fly in extreme conditions for unique missions. For initial NVG flight training, FAA pilots and inspectors will receive eight hours of classroom training, 1.5 hours of daytime flight training, and 5.5 hours of NVG flight training. ASU will also conduct recurrent training at its Boise site.
“We continue to empower operators and regulating entities in many countries around the world to use night vision goggles around the world to save lives and increase safety,” said ASU President Jim Winkel. “The aviation industry becomes safer tomorrow as more advocates for flight safety like the FAA receive NVG training and gain valuable insight into safe NVG flight operations. ASU is committed to further education and training not only in the United States but also around the world. We appreciate the vote of confidence by the FAA continuing our working relationship with them soon.”
In the first contract for the FAA fixed-wing training, ASU trained 19 inspectors for both initial and recurrent training. Including helicopter training iterations, ASU has conducted over 800 training events for the FAA in its 25-year history.
“Continuous NVG training is vital for pilots that operate in this demanding environment,” said ASU Director of Business Development Chad St. Francis. “Fixed-wing NVG operations within the national airspace is relatively new to this community. Most of the regulations for NVG operations have been tailored for rotary-wing operations. We see growth in the NVG fixed-wing community, especially from aerial fire suppression operations, aerial agricultural spraying, law enforcement, and DoD/Federal contractors. The FAA recognizes that these operations require standardization and certification, as with the rotary-wing community. We look forward to providing initial and recurrent fixed-wing NVG ground and flight training to both FAA Inspector Pilots as well as endorse those Commercial Fixed-Wing operators that require NVG operations to execute business and missions safely.