FAA mulls using drones in aircraft accident response

Aircraft engine fires, a collision between two jets, a fire on a flight deck with missing maintenance personnel, a small airplane crashing into a warehouse… these are only some of the emergency scenarios that an airport’s aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) unit have to deal with.

Typically, first responders are able to view accidents like these only from the ground — meaning critical time is lost before incident commanders are able to ascertain where the fire is located, what’s the disposition of the passengers, or how the fire response is proceeding. So now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is trialling the use of drones to get a bird’s-eye view over aircraft accident scenes.

In collaboration with Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport, the FAA is conducting research into how airport firefighting can be improved with the help of drones. According to Mike DiPilato, an airport research specialist with the FAA:

Drones will provide…