Ripper Corporation is the lead drone service provider to Noosa Shire Council in the Firetech Connect initiative where various firefighting technologies came together in collaboration.
Firefighting technology is becoming an increasingly important defence against the devastating effects of bushfires on the climate, biodiversity, communities and economies.
The emergence and successful integration of new aviation and communications technologies, will have a positive national and global impact in firefighting
Firetech Connect is founded on the belief that adopting breakthrough technologies can rapidly build bushfire resilience in regional communities and avert future catastrophes.
In a world first manned and unmanned aircraft working together in a ground breaking trial using innovative and emerging technologies to fight fires.
This effort uses drones is an emerging but invaluable tool when managing bush fires where crewed and uncrewed aviation can work in close proximity.
Current safety regulations require drones to be grounded if manned aircraft are operating in an emergency airspace, preventing them from performing high value functions like fire-mapping, damage assessments and evacuation checks.
Fire Air Traffic Management(FATM) 1.1 & 1.2 has seen Ripper Corp’s partnership with Noosa Council through Firetech Connect develop and trial new operating procedures, pilot training and technologies to ensure the positive identification of drones by manned aircraft in various visibility conditions.
A COP(Common Operating Picture) allows the crewed and uncrewed aircraft to work closely together for situational awareness.( ie. beacons on drones helicopters)
Ripper Corp flew drones within 150 metres of the fire bombing helicopters carrying some 2000 litres of water during operations.
These trials have delivered an effective Alternative Means of Compliance (AMOC) for deploying drones alongside manned aircraft in the same airspace at the same time during bushfire events, with no reduction in the safety of flight operations.
Ripper Corp have deployed multi-rotor and VTOL aircraft to create the base line and enable the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to revise its recommended operating guidelines to allow for the flying of drones during bushfire emergencies under this AMOC.
That in turn would allow for QFES and other state emergency agencies to upgrade their guidance for incident commanders, ultimately resulting in the widespread use of drones to help save lives and protect what is precious to all.