I used to believe that being a tillerman was the best job in the fire service. My opinion may have changed after watching the video above. I now want to be the guy who operates the drone.
This video was taken at a live burn by the Longview Fire Department in Washington last Saturday. Three tiny quadcopters from the firm Roswell Flight Test Crew out of Portland, Oregon were on the scene. Here's the company's own blog with a posting on the burn and other videos of the copters in use.
The quadcopters — square machines about the size of a laptop computer with a helicopter rotor and landing gear on each corner — are part hobby and part business for Portlanders Patrick Sherman and Brian Zvaigzne. Ideally, they hope to someday see the machines used by firefighters and law enforcement.
Saturday, for example, the quadcopters were able to fly into the smoke above the burning building and provide real-time video images of the fire. A public relations officer for law enforcement, Sherman also sees a number of uses for police.