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Last week, Forest Service officials said they’ve dropped plans to use unmanned aerial systems – commonly known as...

Originally shared by Gary Mortimer

Last week, Forest Service officials said they’ve dropped plans to use unmanned aerial systems – commonly known as drones – to survey forest fires because of clashes with Federal Aviation Administration rules. While some national forest firefighters in Alaska touted the remote-control planes’ ability to map forest fires in thick smoke, their legality proved a limitation.

“Getting FAA approval to fly one is a lengthy process,” Forest Service Northern Region spokesman Phil Sammon said on Friday. “It takes too long to make it practical for a two- or three-week occurrence.”

FAA rules require a drone in U.S. airspace to be in visual range of its pilot at all times. That sets up a catch-22 problem where if you want to remote-control fly a drone into a smoke column too thick for human pilots to see through, you must still send up a human pilot to keep an eye on the drone.
http://www.suasnews.com/2013/05/23048/u-s-forest-service-drops-plans-to-use-drones/

Comments

  1. This is in my neighborhood... We are just north of Missoula. Having watched numerous fire situations in the surrounding forests over the last decade or so, I'd love to see the FAA figure out a way to give the Forest Service access to being able to utilize the best of current technology. It could be a game changer in terms of effectiveness and enhanced safety in the face of very real danger for the young men and women who work as firefighters.

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