Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, a business of Textron Inc., provided support after an EF-2 tornado hit Elk City, Okla., on May 16.
Textron Systems’ own operators, as well as representatives from Aeryon Labs, traveled 120 miles to the impact site and began operations within 20 minutes after the tornado’s impact. Once on-site, the team operated an Aeryon SkyRanger small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) to collect more than one hour of high-definition video and georeferenced still imagery over the tornado damage.
The real-time video feed was directly provided to Oklahoma’s regional Emergency Operations Centers via the AeryonLive video and telemetry solution, which streams live video, images and aircraft telemetry from the SkyRanger sUAS across a secure, bonded cellular network connection. The video was also broadcast live to the National Weather Service in Norman, Okla.
“It is difficult for first responders to quickly assess the damage after a tornado impact due to downed powerlines and other debris,” says Dennis Racine, Textron Systems’ senior director of sales and marketing of civil and commercial products. “However, with our support, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management was able to rapidly and safely assess the damage to determine what types of resources were needed to help those in Elk City.”
“Aeryon is proud to partner with Textron Systems in the delivery of real-time, real-world UAS solutions in demanding applications,” adds Bill McHale, CEO of Aeryon Labs. “We are honored that our technology and personnel could play a part in the disaster response effort in Oklahoma.”
Textron Systems also provides aerial solutions in oil and gas pipeline inspection and security, precision agriculture, and other natural disaster efforts.