Macon County Chronicle

Lafayette Air Evac Receives New Aircraft; Crew Now Using Night Vision Goggles

The Lafayette, Tenn. Air Evac Lifeteam crew recently welcomed a new addition to its base. A very big addition, in fact.

An upgraded Bell model 206L1 helicopter is now in operation for the crew stationed in Lafayette. The aircraft sports the red, white and blue Air Evac color scheme, has enhanced power, and is equipped for Night Vision Goggles (NVG).   

“The arrival of this new aircraft, along with the Night Vision Goggles, allows us to better serve our communities more effectively,” said Air Evac Lifeteam Program Director Tim Booher. “It also shows the company’s commitment to safety. NVGs are a tremendous tool in the safe operation of a helicopter at night.”

Air Evac Lifeteam, the largest independently-owned air medical service in the United States, received approval in 2007 from the Federal Aviation Administration to use ANVIS 9 goggles, manufactured by ITT Technologies, as part of its operations. Night Vision Goggles raise night-time vision to 20/20, as opposed to 20/200 vision that results from normal nighttime operations without the aid of NVGs.

Pilots and medical crew members at the Lafayette base received classroom instruction and hands-on flight time as part Air Evac Lifeteam’s comprehensive, FAA-approved NVG training program. “I’m very proud of hard work put in by our crew members,” said Booher. “They underwent rigorous training in the use of Night Vision Goggles, and it will upgrade our service to the communities we serve.”

Pairing the NVGs with the Garmin 396 GPS systems with XM weather increases the capability of company pilots to evaluate both terrain and current weather systems, all in support of Air Evac’s lifesaving mission.

Air Evac Lifeteam is a leading provider of air medical transportation to rural communities, providing patients high-caliber, on-the-scene medical attention during the critical hour following an accident or medical emergency, and rapid transport to medical centers. The membership-supported air ambulance service operates 87 bases in 14 centrally-located states.