Even though the FAA recently put out a warning to not weaponize your drones, there are situations when a drone with self-igniting eggs or flame-throwers can help save lives. Check out this article by The Guardian about these ‘dragon’ drones.
‘Dragon’ drones can help save lives
Susie Cagle writes for The Guardian:
Self-igniting eggs dropped by ‘dragon’ drones: it sounds scary, but the resulting blazes can limit destruction.
The drone propels a stream of flaming gasoline on to the treeline or drops self-igniting “dragon eggs” that spark a cluster of flames. Managed properly, it will chew away at overgrown forests and help prevent deadly and destructive megafires.
…a growing number of US government agencies, including the Department of the Interior and the forest service, are turning to unmanned aircraft to battle fires by setting them first.
The “dragon egg” system consists of self-igniting plastic spheres filled with potassium permanganate. The ping-pong-like balls are injected with glycol right before the drop, which reacts and sets them ablaze in less than 30 seconds…
“They’re out working in Arizona and California – they do a lot of burning now,” said Brad Koeckeritz, unmanned aircraft system division chief for the interior department’s office of aviation services. Drones have also been deployed on fires in Nebraska and Oregon, setting backburns meant to limit the spread of wildfire.
“We’ll see a drastic increase over the next couple years as the product is adopted more widely – it’ll take off and we’ll be buying quite a few of them over the next few years,” said Koeckeritz. The agency has plans to purchase and deploy at least 20 more Ignis systems in the coming season.
When Silver Wings Drone Services petitioned the FAA last year to allow the company to bypass flight regulations in order to conduct prescribed burns using igniting dragon eggs, the Air Line Pilots Association filed an objection, citing “no analyses of the risk of carrying ‘a payload of ping-pong size chemical spheres’”
Unlike human-piloted helicopters and airplanes, drones can fly after dark, and in dangerous, smoky conditions.
You can read the entire article here.
What do you think about the use of drones to fight wild fires? Let us know in the comments below.
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