The first set of demonstration flights for 5-LIVES were successfully completed this month in Toén, in the Spanish region of Galicia. In a two days campaign, PildoLabs engineers worked closely with Babcock’s pilots and technicians to demonstrate the benefits of 5-LIVES outcomes and the great added value to firefighting operations.
The first day (2nd of May) was fully devoted to prepare the helicopter, perform ground tests and plan, together with Babcock’s pilots and the firefighting brigade, the following day flights. PildoLabs’ prototype systems where mounted on-board the helicopter and everything was tested to be ready before the big day.
The 3rd of May, at first light, we were already on the field finishing up last minute preparations and briefing the pilots about the first set of flight demonstrations. It consisted on flying the low-level routes and instrument approach procedures developed within Scenario 3. In an over two hours flight campaign, the pilots were able to successfully come back from the defined national parks to the base and land safely following instructions from PildoLabs systems, based on EGNOS.
Thanks to the EGNOS Safety-of-Life service, the helicopters flying to and from firefighting missions could increase the safety of their operations by flying specifically designed instrumental routes to their base of operations. This is especially relevant for firefighting operations, which find optimal firefighting conditions at twilight and dusk due to the downfall of the winds, lower temperatures and higher humidity, and are then found to return to base with low visibility conditions. All pilots were greatly pleased with the easiness of the system and the added safety of the defined routes.