Precision Integrated Programs Supports Wildfire Fighting in Alaska

Precision in Alaska I

Over the past seven days, Precision Integrated Programs has supported the University of Alaska Fairbanks significantly in conducting ScanEagle flight missions to assist authorities in responding to the massive Funny River Fire near Kenai, Alaska.  As of Memorial Day weekend, the fire had spread to over 120,000 acres of wilderness on the peninsula south of Anchorage.  At 4:30PM PST on  Memorial Day, Monday 26 May, Precision Integrated Programs received a formal notice requesting support from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF) to fly university-owned ScanEagle UAVs to assist in a coordinated response to a massive wildfire threatening the Kenai Peninsula.  Less than 24 hours later, three Precision personnel arrived in Anchorage to begin operations. 

Following meetings with FAA airspace personnel and GIS fire mapping experts as well as securing clearance from the Airport Manager and Interagency Dispatch Center, Precision then had to seek an alternative operations base due to operational limitations posed by the available heli-base.  By the completion of their first full day on the ground, the Precision team had completed mission set-up and the comprehensive refurbishment of a ScanEagle UAS, but was restricted from flying based on COA hours. 

During the mission, the Precision team was able to rely on the expertise of its operator and maintainer to keep the system flying and collecting usable data in substantial rains with winds blowing in excess of 47 knots.  The inaugural mission identified 15 hotspots for responders to focus their efforts on; a considerable success given limited communications connectivity posed by the legacy technology of the particular ScanEagle model.  The next day the Precision/UAF team was able to make adjustments to enhance system performance, thus leading to the identification of 40 hotspots during the second day of mission flights.

After embedding with local partners, Precision’s operators were able to develop a comprehensive understanding of the needs and appropriate products that could be provided to the incident command.  Precision worked closely with GIS and IR employees from the Forest Service to provide specific data points identifying hotspots to be incorporated into briefings and maps.  These products were then distributed to crews who were dispatched to neutralize those hotspots based on the actionable intelligence delivered by Precision’s team of experienced operators.  Furthermore, Precision has offered to bring enhanced sensory payloads to future missions to improve the quality of monitoring and observation that the joint Precision/UAF team can provide. 

Precision’s UAV operators have thousands of hours of experience flying the ScanEagle UAS to provide aerial over watch and support to responders on the ground, thus warning them of impending danger and enabling them to provide the most comprehensive and appropriate responses possible.  Precision also recently unveiled a Mobile Ground Control Station, thus allowing responding operators to base their operations from a customized Jeep Rubicon.

About Precision, LLC:

Precision is a Woman Owned Small Business dedicated to providing unparalleled service and support to our customers and the broader unmanned systems industry. We focus our efforts in direct support of unmanned programs that are vital to USG national defense, intelligence, and Homeland Security entities in addition to commercial work and natural conservation projects. 

Precision has an FAA Approved Flight School offering approved courses from initial pilot certification through to instructor pilot privileges, and has taught over 1,200 traditional pilot students. Precision personnel have also trained over 100 new UAS operators, and include OEM-qualified instructors and field maintenance technicians amongst our core staff for a variety of UAS systems.

Precision offers approved specialty courses in both Airplanes and Helicopters. These courses offer a range of instruction, from standard VFR and IFR, to advanced technical skills such as External-Load Training, Confined Area and Mountain/High Altitude Operations.  Precision is one of the few helicopter-training companies in the US that has a curriculum that is recognized as a Factory Equivalent Course by: Schweizer, McDonnell Douglas, Bell, American Eurocopter and Enstrom.  It is one of the first all-inclusive Part 141 Aviation Training Schools in the Western United States that also has Part 133, 135, 137, 145 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration Certificates.