With helicopters widely used in Spain for firefighting, the autonomous community Aragon is the first to use unmanned helicopters to help fight fires. Consisting of three provinces - Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel - Aragon is located in north eastern Spain and borders France to the north.
Using two UAVs from local company INDA, Aragon has invested around 60,000 euros in all the systems and equipment required. The aircraft are now being used to fly over fires, transmitting real-time images of the evolution of the flames to enable commanders to organise fire-fighters as efficiently as they can. Minister for the Environment of the Government of Aragon, Alfredo Bone, also points out that the new systems allow image capture in the evening and night, when manned helicopters would be grounded - a big tactical advantage in putting a fire out.
Each of the HEL-UAV devices weighs about 15.5 kg, have an endurance of 2-3 hours, and a maximum speed of 60mph when needed. Most of their time is likely to be spent hovering, or manoeuvring between different hover locations.
Jeremy Parkin - HeliHub.com
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