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Outside Fire Mission Failure and Success – Flight Debrief

Outside Fire Mission Failure and Success – Flight Debrief

Wake Forest Fire Department UAS Flight Debrief

Date: 4-6–2018

Flight Time: 20 Minutes

Mission Goals:

Provide information to assist firefighting operations and evaluate the thermal activity of outside fire.

What Went Well:

The following items were conducted without incident:

  1. Communicated with News Chopper 11 over the incident and coordinated block operating altitudes to deconflict airspace.
  2. Established safe LZ.

What Could Have Gone Better:

  1. Dispatched map address did not match incident address so looking at the aerial view of incident location was of no value.
  2. Unable to positively identify exact house during flight with nothing showing at dispatched address.
  3. Due to tight road conditions I was unable to locate LZ near command.
    Unable to visualize actual incident location from a position outside development on road.
  4. From the ground the burned area was clearly visible but of no value from the air.
  5. Considering my initial focus was further up the shared driveway, it was easy to overlook correct location.

Flight Video:

https://youtu.be/zqZTkrgd7to

Recommendations From Flight:

Without any visual clues or the ability to clearly see the correct incident property from above, it was extremely difficult to identify target location as someplace other than the displayed dispatch address.

Granted, I could have walked up the driveway to visualize the incident location but from the dispatch information, I believed the location was much further past the gate.

Given the series of events, canopy cover, lack of smoke, lack of dramatic thermal signature, and quick burning ground fire that I’ve studied before in our wildland fire testing in Sandhills, I am hard pressed to identify any radical changes I would have made from the execution of this call.

Feedback?

About Steve Rhode

Steve is an experienced and certificated UAS pilot and aircraft instrument rated pilot. He is also the Chief Pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department and North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy.
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