Mercy Flight, which provides helicopter medevacs to a 28-county Central New York area, will be equipping its crews with night vision goggles later this year, after a successful $240-thousand dollar fundraising campaign.
CEO Neil Snedeker made the announcement on this morning's NBC-3 Weekend Today in CNY, saying the low-light vision enhancement will make flying safer for both staffers and the people being airlifted to hospitals. 30% of Mercy Flight's calls are at night, and even though ground crews illuminate the makeshift landing zones in emergencies, phone towers, irregular landscapes and fences and wires make for extra flying hazards.
Mercy Flight expects to get the NVGs, which mount on helmets and are powered by a low-voltage battery pack, by this fall, and have them in operation for pilots, nurses and others on the helicopters, after training, by the end of the year.
The 'official' announcement on the upgrade will come this Thursday night, community night with the Chiefs at NBT Bank Stadium,. Weather permitting, a Mercy Flight helicopter will land in the ballpark, and flight crews and critical care team members will be on hand to meet fans, starting at 6:30pm.
There are free tickets to Thursday's game at Hobby Lobby stores in Fayetteville or Liverpool, or you can call Mercy Flight's main offices in Canandaigua 585-396-0584.