RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg-based aircraft will soon be equipped with high-tech night vision goggles (NVGs) after long-time supporter Energex committed $100,000 over two years to purchase eight sets of the equipment.
Currently both rescue helicopters operate without the aid of night vision goggles even though more than a third of its lifesaving missions are conducted at night. The long-term project, which will cost more than $1 million, is focused on achieving improved night capabilities, allowing crews to better detect hazards and obstructions and have greater situational awareness.
The initial seed funding from Energex represents the beginning of the project for CareFlight. Before NVGs are able to be utilised cockpit reconfiguration and aircraft modifications will be required as well as training in NVG use for crews.
Subject to the availability of further funding, RACQ CareFlight hopes to be operational with NVGs in 12 months.
CareFlight spokesperson David Donaldson said the project was an expensive undertaking, but one the crew and community will benefit significantly from.
“CareFlight’s Gold Coast and Toowoomba helicopters are already fitted with this world-class technology and we’re pleased our Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg crews will soon follow suit,” Donaldson said.
Over the last two decades Energex and its customers have contributed more than $11 million towards CareFlight’s Sunshine Coast rescue operations.
The support from Energex preceded a Queensland state government decision to assist all community helicopter providers throughout Queensland in achieving night vision capabilities. While details of the funding are yet to released, the government decision will enable RACQ CareFlight to expedite its NVG project.