The state of Colorado is showing off their two recently purchased multi-mission, high-tech, single-engine, fixed wing aircraft that can be used in a variety of roles for fighting and managing wildfires. The Colorado Firefighting Air Corp, working under the Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC), bought two Pilatus PC-12 airplanes configured and outfitted by the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).
The aircraft have three sensors, one for infrared and two for color. They can map wildfires and detect a campfire from 30 to 45 miles away.
Last July we asked DFPC Director Paul Cooke how the aircraft will be used. He replied:
When presented to the Governor and Legislature other potential uses of the multi-mission aircraft were discussed, including:
• Transportation of critical medical personnel, supplies, and equipment
• Insect damage and forest assessments for the Colorado State Forest Service
• Office of Emergency Management: disaster assessments/reconnaissance
• Department of Mineral and Geology: mine assessment/compliance
• Dam safety and inspections
• Environmental monitoring and compliance
• Search and rescue missions
• Avalanche control
VIP and prisoner transport are performed by the Colorado State Patrol.
The aircraft will be Part 135 Certified and we expect they will also be ATGS platform carded. However, it will not perform Lead Plane functions and it is not currently planned to serve as an ASM.
We last wrote about the aircraft in September when the agency acquired one on a temporary basis.