The Vancouver Sun reports that Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aircraft “are being flown through thick smoke over intense wildfires to map where fire lines are holding and where flames are spreading.” University of Alaska research staff have been flying the planes outfitted with infrared cameras since August 5th, after worsening fire conditions in Alaska’s Crazy Mountain Complex grounded manned aircraft. “The university is the first entity other than NASA or the U.S. Department of Defense to receive emergency clearance to fly unmanned aircraft beyond the line of sight in civil airspace.” With the Insitu unmanned planes in service during dangerous conditions, personnel are able to monitor fire lines from afar without putting themselves at physical risk.
UPDATE 8/27/2009: Watch video from University of Alaska available on Wired
Related external links (will open a new window):
The Vancouver Sun – Vancouver, Canada – August 13, 2009
Wired – U.S. – August 26, 2009
Related WTC links:
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