As if wildand fire managers didn’t have enough to worry about when it comes to drones invading the air space above fires and possibly causing a mid-air collision with a firefighting aircraft, now a drone is going into production that can carry a burning emergency flare, known to firefighters as fusees.
The Splash Drone has received over $51,000 toward their $17,500 goal on Kickstarter. It is expected to begin shipping in July or August of this year.
The “Splash” part of the name is derived from the fact that it is designed to be waterproof. A video shows it being thrown into the water and then taking off. Another interesting feature is that it has a payload release mechanism, and in that same video it drops a bottle of water. We can picture a firefighter rigging it to drop water from a container, suppressing a fire that’s about three inches square.
The worrisome part is the adapter on the top into which you can insert a burning fusee. The video explains the need for that feature:
It allows you to deploy an emergency flare for 15 minutes rather than 15 seconds.
There is no release mechanism for the fusee mounted on top, but when they burn they drop hot slag that can start fires. Or, a twisted arsonist could attach a fusee to the release mechanism on the bottom, and create havoc. A person has to wonder what the dripping hot slag will do to the drone. They say it’s waterproof, but the term “fireproof” is not mentioned.
Another use for the the fusee mount could be to carry a flag. A squadron of five or more drones could then do a flag flyover before a football game or NASCAR race. Of course the first time they crash into the crowd would be the end of that style of patriotic tribute.
On Kickstarter the price begins at $399 for a very basic “DIY kit” and goes all the way up to $1,999 for an assembled drone with a bunch of accessories and a “personal 6-hour flight lesson”.