Sun, 01 Aug '04
Some time ago, Patrick Farrell lost a friend in an Aerostar crash. The pilot was trying to land in less-than-desireable weather, dropped below the glideslope on approach and wound up hitting trees. On that day, Farrell decided he would develop a low-cost FLIR system that would help save lives by giving pilots of GA aircraft infrared-enhanced vision capability at a reasonable price.
Together with Ron Lueck and Steve Young of AeroComp, Inc., they have formed a company to do just that: Forward Vision. Two years of development work have resulted in their first product, the Forward Vision Infrared Camera System, a FLIR system for general aviation aircraft, designed for night, fog and low-visibility operations.
The system is a fully solid-state design that allows pilots to see through smoke, darkness, fog, rain, smog and, according to Farrell, even snow. Initially only for experimental aircraft, the demonstration video shows that pilots can clearly identify runways, taxiways, buildings, parked aircraft and people, while taxiing, taking off and landing.
Retail pricing for the system has been set at $19,995, which represents a savings of some $60,000 from the price of their nearest competitor, MaxViz. An introductory price has been set at $16,995 for the first 100 systems sold.