University Of Alaska UAV Helps Fight Wildfires. In the "Autopia" column of Wired Magazine (8/26), Jason Paur writes, "Earlier this month in Alaska, a 40-pound Insitu Scan Eagle saw duty fighting wildfires after dense haze grounded conventional aircraft." The UAV's "infrared cameras allowed people on the ground tracking the fires to find hotspots and monitor the fire lines." The University of Alaska, which operates the UAV, says that it "is the first entity other than NASA or the Department of Homeland Security allowed to fly an unmanned aircraft beyond the line of sight in civil airspace."
Details Of Polish UAVs Emerging. Flight International (8/26, Glowacki) reports, "First details have emerged of a new family of unmanned air vehicles designed by scientists and students from the Mobile Systems Research Laboratories and Institute of Computing Science at Poland's Poznan University of Technology." They are "expected to support a 2013 demonstration of Poland's indigenous Proteus system," providing "instant situational awareness during emergency situations." The largest, "the Rarog has a maximum take-off weight of 40kg (88lb), and could carry an SGO Z electro-optical turret, plus either intelligence-gathering equipment or even weapons using its two under-wing pylons." The SP-1B Zuraw and Burzyk mini UAV are the smaller UAVs in the family.
Mule UAV Testing Progresses. Flight Internationall (8/26, Egozi) reports that Urban Aeronautics' Mule ducted fan unmanned aircraft system prototype "has been brought to a "light on the skids" position in the lead-up to performing its first hover tests." Dr Rafi Yoeli, president of the Israeli company, said, "We could go to full hover, but we decided to use extra caution as this is the only prototype." Meanwhile, Urban Aeronautics is "working on the operational mode that will be used when the Mule enters service as a combat zone supply and medical evacuation platform."