Drone Used for Wildfire
During the wildfires, the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) and other regulatory Civil Aviation authorities’ around the world have a responsibility to create no-fly zones over the wildfires airspace in order to protect the airline community. However, during a recent wildfire in the state of Washington, a breakthrough decision was made when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave approval for an unmanned drone to fly over a wildfire, at night. The approval for an aircraft to be able to fly over wildfires would go down in the record books as the first time in U.S. history.
The Wildfire that made history
Of course, as you can imagine, there would have had to be a compelling reason to allow this exception. According to US Senator Maria Cantwell, it is important to try and minimize the risk of human life as far as possible when it comes to fires. And drones are an essential part of fire-fighting techniques.
The Scan Eagle drone, was built by a Boeing subsidiary in the state of Washington. On the 11th of July, 2014, the Eagle drone was given an emergency certificate of waiver to fly over the Mills Canyon fire in the state of Washington. The Eagle drone has excellent night vision capabilities. It is about 4 feet long with a wingspan of about 10 feet and weighs about 40 pounds. The Eagle is the only one of a few unmanned drones involved in firefighting.
Importance of Drones
According to the media, the F.A.A. will only permit the Scan Eagle drone to operate at night. (Day time flying is restricted) Nevertheless, there are huge advantages in using unmanned drones to help fight wildfires. The Scan Eagle can transmit direct images to firefighting control centers to determine the exact fire location and the best way to extinguish the flames.
Is this the beginning of a completely new way to tackle wildfires? Now, that they have given way to the Eagle Scan drone. We can expect better and safer firefighting techniques in the near future. I guess the advancement of technology is inevitable, and we must adapt, as long as it’s for a good cause. It would be interesting to wait and see what happens.