Kalitta Air selects smoke vision technology for 747s

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Washington DC
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US freighter operator Kalitta Air is to equip its Boeing 747s with emergency vision assurance system technology, which allows pilots to see through dense smoke in cockpits.

Developed by Honolulu, Hawaii-based VisionSafe, the technology displaces smoke through the inflation of a transparent bubble, which provides a clear, contained volume of air through which the crew can view vital instruments.

The decision by Kalitta, which has around 20 747-400 and -200 aircraft, follows the loss of two 747-400 freighters in the space of a year following an in-flight fire.

VisionSafe president Bertil Werjefelt said the installation means pilots will be able to "perform the key tasks of flying in dense, blinding smoke situations". The system takes around 15-20s to deploy in an emergency.

Global freight firm UPS chose to fit the system following an on-board fire on one of its 747-400s in September 2010, which led to the aircraft crashing in Dubai.

US-based JetBlue Airways has also opted to use the system on its aircraft.