Taking on Supply Missions – Parallel Flight Technology’s Firefly

    A small team of drone enthusiasts is working on a project that looks a lot like a miniature airplane. The “Firefly” a 120-pound UAS is what Parallel Flight Drones hope is the next step in using UAS technology to help in aerial firefighting.

    The drone measures about 3 feet tall and has a wingspan of about 5 feet. It can fly for up to 30 minutes.

    Parallel Flight Technologies aims to take advantage of some of the limitations of helicopters and planes used to fight wildfires. Parallel Flight drones can fly for up to 7 hours continuously. Most commercial drones on the market have less than 15 minutes of useful air time.

    Helicopters and planes have been used to fight wildfires, but they can be limited by poor visibility and are often expensive.

    Parallel Flight Technologies CEO Joshua Resnick explained that the drones his company is developing are aimed at being the “pickup trucks of the sky” for aerial firefighting that are ideal for carrying supplies and equipment to firefighters on the front lines.

    The Firefly can reach speeds of up to 100 mph and carry up to a hundred pounds over longer distances.

    In addition to cargo-carrying missions, the newly pitched drone will also be able to carry out back burning fire missions to help minimize wildfires.

    The idea for Parallel Flight was sparked by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa in 2017.

    Resnick, an engineer by trade, was prompted to explore other solutions after seeing plumes of smoke rising from the ground.

    At the time, no one was flying drones in support of aerial firefighting missions, a goal that Resnick and co-founders David Adams and Bobby Hunter set to change. The trio set to immediately find a solution for supplying firefighters in the field with much-needed supplies in remote locations.

    The initial firefly can carry 100 pounds of equipment for two and a half hours, but the team has plans for creating a drone in the future capable of carrying loads up to 1000 pounds with longer flight times, looking at alternate fuel sources such as ethanol and biodiesel among others.

    While the team is still in the R&D phase with the firefly, they hope to deliver the first Firefly in 2022.

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    AerialFire Staff
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