Hybrid rotor/fixed wing drone was used extensively over Schneider Springs Fire – Fire Aviation

Fire Aviation
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Takes off vertically then transitions to forward flight for up to 12 hours
In August and September a hybrid rotor/fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) was used on the Schneider Springs Fire in Washington which burned more than 107,000 acres northwest of Yakima.
The aircraft has been used on fires since at least 2020 and is an L3 Latitude Engineering FVR-90, a model first produced in 2019. It is owned by Bridger Aerospace. Unlike drones that need a catapult to take off or a net to be recaptured, the FVR-90 can use the four electrically-powered rotors to take off and then transition to the rear-mounted gasoline-powered propeller for forward flight.
While staying aloft for up to 12 hours it can orbit over a fire at 10,000 to 12,000 feet above other aircraft and can use standard visual video cameras or heat-sensing infrared technology to monitor and map fires, transmitting imagery to firefighters on the ground in real time. On the Schneider Springs Fire it was used primarily at night.
The FAA has granted special authorization to fly the aircraft beyond visual line of sight within the temporary flight restriction (TFR).
This could be an important tool toward what I call the Holy Grail of Wildland Firefighter Safety — knowing the real time location of the fire and personnel on the fire.
In a comment regarding another article about drones, Tom Jones pointed out this excellent video that explains the system’s capabilities and how it was used in Washington this summer.

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Instructive and professional. Good job to all involved!
Flying toys isn’t nearly as fun as being a real aviator in a real airplane but, hey, it all pays the same. No doubt UAS brings something to the table, it’s just not even 1/8th as much fun.
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