Volatus drones approved to help fight forest fires in Canada


Volatus Aerospace has passed the Alberta Wildfire Services’ Hinton Grid Testing evaluation process to become a qualified vendor providing infrared imaging services from drones for wildfire suppression.

The Hinton Grid Testing establishes whether vendors can meet criteria on target sensitivity, accuracy and data delivery based on the needs of fire operations and is a requirement to provide infrared services in Alberta. The standard is recognized by other provincial fire services in Canada.

“Volatus is now on an approved vendor call list of infrared drone imaging service providers in the province of Alberta to help Alberta Wildfire Services,” said Walter Weselowski, team lead, special flight ops for Volatus Aerospace, who initially qualified on the Grid in 2011 for rotary IR operations.

“Although many drone pilots are wanting to help with wildfire suppression, safely flying a drone in complex wildfire environments while collecting accurate and reliable hotspot data is a skill requiring specific knowledge, qualifications, and experience,” added Weselowski.

Wildfires have become an increasing threat to life and property, especially in Alberta, which is already experiencing a challenging fire season. The information infrared imaging provides is used by firefighters on the ground for actioning critical areas, detecting hot spots, and ensuring that fires are fully extinguished and poses no threat of re-igniting.

This approval follows shortly after Volatus’ approval last month to fly beyond visual line of sight and above 400ft in support of fire suppression agencies across Canada and marks the next milestone in the Company’s ability to support public safety agencies in Canada.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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