** EDIT: the AirMed&Rescue Firefighting Roundtable is now available, watch the full discussion on innovation in the global fight against wildfire here **
Technology and innovation in the aerial firefighting sector is one of the most valuable tools that governments around the world have to combat the ever-increasing problem of extreme fire events. Wildfires are increasing in number and intensity. As population centers expand, the risk to people and property increases, and thus need to respond quickly with early and effective fire suppression techniques becomes more vital.
AirMed&Rescue and Erickson have teamed up to host a roundtable discussion to highlight how adaptations to aircraft and a dedicated mutual aid approach to communications between aerial and ground operations are helping to fight fires more effectively, and, with a greater pressure on resources than ever before, more efficiently as well. New cameras, water and retardant dropping techniques, and improved communication between ground and aerial assets mean that it has never been a more exciting time to be an aerial firefighter.
AirMed&Rescue Managing Editor, Mandy Langfield, will be joined by Jeff Baxter, Erickson's Senior Director of Research and Development, Brett L'Esperance, CEO of Dauntless Air and Brian Collins, CEO of Intterra. The discussion, will be available to view next week (from 20 July 2021).
What will we cover?
Aerial firefighting companies are spending vast amounts of money and many years designing and implementing the latest technologies to make aircraft safer to operate, more efficient as force multipliers, and more effective individually as well. New aircraft engines, new blades for helicopters made from composite materials, more effective water enhancers, and the latest infra-red cameras run through head-up displays are all contributing to safer and more effective aerial firefighting tactics. In addition, the ability to gather and disseminate data about fires is a vital cog in the wheel of early fire suppression efforts, and operators and governments are investing in equipment that allow data to be shared and acted upon without hesitation.
Jeff will share the latest innovations in technology or equipment that is changing the game for firefighting helicopters in terms of aircraft efficiency - power-lift ratio, range extension, and the increasing use of composite materials, plus insights into the future for Erickson's aerial firefighting division.
Brett will share Dauntless Air's experiences of how custom technology onboard aircraft that has improved the accuracy of water/retardant drops to make them more efficient through both software and hardware, and other aspects of aerial firefighting that benefit from technological innovations.
Brian will shine a light on the benefits of harnessing digital data to enhance incident management, looking at how vital it is that ground and aerial firefighting assets work cohesively together with examples from Intterra's real-time situational awareness approach.
Meet the aerial firefighting experts who will be sharing their insights
Jeff Baxter, Erickson
Jeff Baxter is the Senior Director of Research and Development and responsible for new products to retrofit onto the existing fleet of aircraft, as well as the evaluation and incorporation of new technologies into our overall product offering. His experience includes a wide array of engineering disciplines, from spaceflight hardware design to autonomous flight controls, and has worked at a variety of aerospace companies including SpaceX, Columbia Helicopters, and Vans Aircraft.
Brett L’Esperance, Dauntless Air
Brett joined Dauntless Air in June 2017 after more than 20 years in private equity, which included time at Bain Capital, Woodside Capital Management and the Watermill Group. Over the course of his career, Brett has spearheaded growth acceleration, strategy implementation and operational excellence initiatives for dozens of companies.
Brian Collins, Interra
Brian Collins, one of Intterra’s three founders, has been the Chief Operating Officer since the company’s start in 2010. Prior to forming Intterra, Collins was a Senior Principal at SRA International, previously performed civil service within the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, was a technical manager for the Boeing Company and Autometric, Inc., and served as a US Marine.