The 2022 Aerial Firefighting Conference found itself the first major event held at KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence on Sept. 20.
Hosted by Wings Magazine, the conference featured helicopter operators and related businesses with a series of panels and speakers.
David Thomas with Kelowna company SKYTRAC was one of the speakers, showcasing advances in broadband data use during flight.
“It changes everything we do from a tactical perspective,” Thomas said, “because you can put aircraft up for virtually hours at a time and not have humans involved. You can do it 24 hours a day seven days a week.”
Thomas says the technology will allow unmanned aircraft to fly when humans aren’t able to, being operated by a pilot on the ground.
This is something Thomas says could change the game for aerial firefighting.
“You can either put it into a spotting aircraft or an unmanned vehicle. You can go out and chase storms. You can fly at night to find or pinpoint fires before they get big when humans can’t fly and then you can grab the coordinates and go out at first light. Of course, once a fire is big you can use it to do more surveillance for longer periods of time to assess the fire from a tactical means.”
Learn more about SKYTRAC and its technologies on its website skytrac.ca.