“Both winners of the awards have made significant contributions to the industry,” said Night Vision Awards emcee Scott Emerine. “Recognizing individuals and companies that raise the bar of safety through the utilization of night vision goggles and technology is the reason these awards were founded and both recipients exemplify what these awards are all about.”
The Mark of Excellence Award recognizes a unit/company that signifies dedication to quality and excellence in their operation. Air Methods Corporation is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features over 450 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. In August 2013, Air Methods announced its then fleet of 368 air medical helicopters became fully outfitted with night vision goggle (NVG) capability. With this milestone, Air Methods’ fleet is now the largest civilian helicopter fleet in the world to be fully outfitted with NVG technology.
"Air Methods is extremely proud to have met this key safety objective," said Aaron Todd, chief executive officer, Air Methods. "With the largest air medical fleet in the industry, we anticipated 100 percent NVG compliance was going to take time to complete. The team remained diligent in the effort because we believe NVGs, coupled with our standard suite of advanced cockpit technologies, keep our crews and patients safe during night operations and further enhance the safety of our operations."
Air Methods Regional Aviation Director James Wisecup received the award on behalf of Air Methods. He was involved with the first civil aviation operation to use night vision goggles for EMS in the United States.
For his contributions to the advancement of Night Vision in aviation Kevin Means received the NIGHTCON Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chuck Crompton, of Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (ECS Division), in Franklin, Wisconsin nominated Means for the industry award. “Every good sales manager who works with new helicopter technologies knows the importance of getting to know the innovators, and back in 1992, there were a few of these types scattered throughout the Police Flight Departments on the West Coast,” said Crompton. “One in particular was a skinny kid with dark hair that flew Bell-206 helicopters with the San Diego Police Department. These innovators were the people that campaigned for the new equipment, including NVG and FLIR. They were the generation that “wrote the book” on night tactics and the complementary capabilities between NVGs, FLIR and searchlights. In Kevin Means situation, he literally wrote the book, and every new kid that aspires to chase bad guys with helicopters will eventually pick up a copy of Tactical Helicopter Missions, How to Fly Safe and Effective Airborne Law Enforcement Missions. Kevin has always looked for better ways to do things, and his commitment to safety has never wavered.
Means flew with the San Diego Police Department for 24 years and retired in 2013. He was also a member of the Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA).
“Night vision goggles were a critical component of our aviation unit's operation for many years,” said Means. “As pilots and tactical flight officers, we depended on them nightly - not only for aviation safety, but for tactical effectiveness as well. They enable us to operate much safer and far more effectively than in previous years.”
“I had a great career with the San Diego Police Air Support Unit - a career that spanned 24 years and thousands of flight-hours - but I was quite surprised, and more than just a little proud, when I learned that I had been nominated for this award. It is truly an honor,” said Means.
The Night Vision Award sponsors, Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Night Flight Concepts, Vertical Magazine and RotorCraft Pro will be presenting their next awards at ALEA in Houston, Texas.