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March 06, 2024
By Liann Zimmer

ClearVision EFVS: A Game-Changer for Aerial Firefighting Safety at AFF 2024

Gov / Special Missions

The dedication of aerial firefighting pilots is nothing short of extraordinary. These skilled professionals face extreme conditions and put themselves at risk to extinguish devastating wildfires. That's why the pending certification of Universal Avionics’ Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) on Beechcraft King Air B200/300 aircraft marks a critical turning point. This technology, known as ClearVision, offers a significant leap forward in pilot safety and mission effectiveness.


Tackling Low-Visibility Conditions

Wildfires generate thick smoke and haze, severely reducing visibility and increasing the risk of accidents. ClearVision EFVS addresses this challenge directly by providing pilots with augmented views of their environment in real-time. 

Look at this before-and-after of a fire in natural vision, versus ClearVision EFVS turned on:

Natural Vision - Aerial Firefighting Enhanced Vision with ClearVision
(Left: Natural Vision; Right: Enhanced Vision with ClearVision)

If you can identify any landmarks in the first image, you have much better vision than me. I can see smoke, and that’s about it. With ClearVision EFVS, on the other hand, you can visibly see the center of the blaze, a body of water, and a runway just up ahead – all the key data points you may need to be aware of during an aerial firefighting mission. Even surrounding terrain to watch out for and buildings to protect, are well-defined.

So how can ClearVision see so... clearly? This enhanced imagery is thanks to the EVS-4000 multi-spectral camera fixed to the nose of the King Air aircraft. With no fewer than four unique cameras and sensors (including infrared), ClearVision can combine this information into a single clear picture for operators. Pilots have maximum control, easily switching between synthetic vision or combined enhanced vision views.

King Air Beechcraft B200 installed with ClearVision EVS-4000

Heads-Up! Enhanced Decision-Making, Increased Safety

The King Air B200 has a unique role in firefighting operations and is relied on for Lead Plane missions during wildfire suppression. The B200’s cockpit isn’t exactly considered “roomy”, so making space for a traditional, fixed heads-up display (HUD) can be a challenge. 

What makes ClearVision stand out from a regular HUD system is that it utilizes a wearable HUD. SkyLens Head-Wearable Displays (HWD) overlay enhanced vision imagery and synthetic 3D terrain onto the pilot's field of view. This allows pilots to operate heads-up, dramatically improving situational awareness even in the most challenging conditions. A wearable HUD not only solves the issue of limited room but is also more comfortable and ergonomic for pilots.

ClearVision SkyLens Head-Wearable DisplayClearVision SkyLens Head-Wearable Display (HWD)

ClearVision offers unparalleled clarity and a large field of vision. This allows pilots to keep their attention outside the cockpit, reducing spatial disorientation and improving decision-making in critical moments. Spatial disorientation issues are the largest cause of accidents involving "Controlled Flight into Terrain" accidents. In a field where every second counts, this situational awareness translates to increased safety and a higher likelihood of swift, successful fire containment.


ClearVision EFVS at Aerial Firefighting North America 2024

ClearVision on the King Air B200

Universal Avionics is excited to partner with Global Aviation Tech LLC (GATECH) to showcase the upgraded Beechcraft King Air B200 during the Aerial Firefighting North America 2024 conference in Sacramento, CA. Attend our workshop on March 6th for an in-depth look at this revolutionary system or stop by Booth #310 to see ClearVision in action!

This exciting milestone for ClearVision underscores the aviation industry's commitment to protecting those who dedicate their lives to public safety. By empowering pilots with greater visibility and enhanced decision-making capabilities, we are taking a major step towards safer aerial firefighting operations and, ultimately, protecting lives and property. Let's share this news and drive critical conversations about innovation in firefighting technology.


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