Textron Aviation has delivered two Beechcraft King Air 260s to the U.S. Forest Service for missions to map wildfires.
The twin-turboprops were modified for the installation of the Overwatch Imaging TK-9 Earthwatch Airborne Sensor, an infrared (IR) sensing technology, in addition to legacy Forest Service sensors. The equipment can accurately map wildfires, including at night and through smoke. That information is used by firefighters to learn the exact extent of a fire regardless of darkness, smoke, or terrain. IR mapping also can spot new fires started by lightning.
More than 7,700 King Air turboprops have been delivered since 1964 and the worldwide fleet has recorded more than 62 million flight hours.
“We are honored the U.S. Forest Service has added the King Air 260 to its fleet,” said Textron Aviation v-p of special mission sales Bob Gibbs. “Whether for wildfire detection and mapping, resource management, aerial supervision module/lead plane, or air attack, the King Air continues to demonstrate its leadership in this mission. Customer faith in our legendary products and trust in our company and our team are at the core of our enduring relationship with U.S Forest Service.”