The console of the MD530F is pictured at left. The picture on the right is the MD-500D console. The pilot operates from the left side and the tactical officer from the right. The FLIR / moving map screen and key board are visible on the right along with the search light control and police radios.
ASTREA crews routinely use Night Vision Goggles for night patrol and rescue operations. These devices amplify ambient light 30,000 times. This gives a tremendous margin of safety and effectiveness for crews whether working over a city or in a dark back country canyon. As seen in the picture to the left, the goggles affix to the wearer’s helmet and are powered by a battery pack which affixes to the rear of the helmet.
The moving map can display any one of a number of maps including street and road, topographical and airspace. A real-time display indicates the aircraft position as it flies. Addresses or locations can be entered using the keyboard and a display indicates direction to turn and time enroute. The FLIR system shares this screen and therefore only one system can be operated at a time.
The fuel tender pictured on the left can carry up to 3,000 gallons of jet fuel and serves as a multi-support vehicle during extended missions. ASTREA operates another similar fuel truck which can carry over 4,000 gallons of fuel.
The FLIR or Forward Looking Infra Red mounts on the right side of the aircraft. It is controlled by the tactical flight officer using a joy-stick device.
The picture on the left is an example of the image the crew sees when using FLIR. Instead of “seeing” light, the FLIR “sees” heat. The warm areas of an object are displayed brighter white. In this case, the sleeveless arms and uncovered face and neck is displayed brighter than areas covered by clothing.