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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
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GA Drone Kept Watch Over Huge Wildfire

A General Atomics unmanned aircraft conducted surveillance high over Riverside County for fire officials during the Esperanza fire last month.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., which builds the aircraft in San Diego, announced the mission Nov. 7.

A variant of General Atomics’ Predator aircraft, called Altair, conducted the 16-hour flight in national airspace Oct. 28 and 29. Flying at 43,000 feet, the aircraft collected infrared pictures of the fire.

A pilot on the ground operates the General Atomics aircraft.

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The flights were conducted by NASA, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Esperanza fire killed five firefighters and burned more than 40,000 acres, or 63 square miles.

, Brad Graves

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