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This is an interesting video from camerajumper1 of one of those radio controlled tiny helicopters mounted with a camera doing a fly by at a recent strip mall fire in Los Angeles County, California.
People like Patrick Sherman and his partners of Roswell Flight Test Crew (click here for all of their videos) are among those pushing this technology as a tool for public safety. Most of us can imagine the very positive uses of an eye in the sky like this. Just check out the video below where the Roswell folks attach a FLIR to the little chopper for a view of a wildland burn.
But what about the unannounced visitor over your fire scene? I have no idea if the IC at the strip mall fire knew there would be a flyover, but how would you react if you saw one with no warning? Would you see it as a threat? If it were a mass casualty incident or a crime scene would that impact your view of this and how you would handle the intrusion from above? Would it be any different than a TV news chopper flying at a much higher altitude?
I don’t have the answers to these questions and I am not sure anyone does at this point. But I can tell you this. If I was still in the TV news business I would be pushing my bosses to buy one. I can see many uses and not just for a breaking news event.
And, if I was a fire chief, I would be looking closely how I could use this technology as a tool in my arsenal.