UAV UAV’s supports wildfire suppression

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Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company has been helping firefighters on wildfires in Oregon, providing information for fire suppression activities via its data collection, analysis and delivery capabilities.

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Insitu’s Mobile Response Team has been operating its ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to supplement manned aviation firefighting teams battling wildland fires. ScanEagle is a licensed and approved UAS operating in full compliance with FAA regulations and with the full approval of local, state and federal fire authorities.

The ScanEagle teams “fly the gaps,” meaning they fly the UAS at night and over dense smoke and inversion conditions, when manned aircraft typically are grounded due to hazardous conditions for pilots. The ScanEagle team to date has logged more than 200 hours of night flight time during nearly 30 flights over the Garner Complex and Taylor Creek fires in Oregon.

The payload onboard the ScanEagle includes infrared sensors and electro-optical cameras that gather and disseminate geospatial imagery, and provide incident perimeter maps and full motion video. The sensors and cameras spot heat signatures, fire movement and spot fires, and provide video feed of critical infrastructure, historical buildings and other structures that might be in danger, as well as identifying safe ingress and egress routes for firefighters.

“Above all, our main mission is to help combat these unrelenting fires and help keep the firefighters, the residents and the communities safe,” explained Andrew Duggan, vice president, Insitu Commercial. “One of the benefits of flying UAS over difficult and rugged terrain is mitigating the need for firefighters to physically walk it when locating and extinguishing hot spots,” he continued.

Insitu is a provider of information for superior decision making. With its headquarters in Bingen, Wash., and offices in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, the company creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and understanding sensor data.

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