New tech automates aerial firefighting data reporting

written by Adam Thorn | August 19, 2020
The AFDAU-T1 (TracPlus)

TracPlus has unveiled a “world-first” new product for aerial firefighters that will automate the time-consuming collecting and reporting of data now required to satisfy new industry standards.

National Aerial Firefighting Centre of Australia’s (NAFC) OPS-14 Standards now state that operators must accurately collect and report volume collected and dropped, engine starts and stops, and take-offs and landings.

For rotary aircraft, TracPlus said its AFDAU-T1 product removes the need for manual calibration of a bucket, meaning that no pilot interaction is required, even when swapping buckets in a slung load configuration.


For fixed-wing operators, the organisation said the device automatically detects operational data for reporting – including proof of substantive flow from a hopper.

The new tech was produced in collaboration with Sydney-based engineers Aircraft Maintenance Solutions.

“Our goal was to bring a dedicated aerial firefighting data acquisition unit to the market that had been designed to meet the NAFC event reporting contract requirements,” said AFDAU-T1’s lead engineer, Zane Vohland.

“With AFDAU-T1, operators don’t need to worry about data accuracy. They will have peace of mind that their data is reliable, automatic and accurate.”


TracPlus was founded in 2007 and its varied client list worldwide also includes Californian forest fire protection department CalFire and San Diego Gas & Electric.

Previously, Australian Aviation reported that TracPlus secured $5 million of funding from Kiwi tech fund Movac.

As part of the deal, the firm will acquire Cambridge-based v2track, which already supplies it with tracking devices.

Chief executive Trevor McIntyre said, “We had a number of funding options, and we chose Movac due to their investment style and ‘hands-on’ experience in growing successful tech companies.

“It was also really important to us that there was a strong personality fit between the two teams.”

TracPlus staff have already switched to working from home during the coronavirus crisis to allow clients such as aeromedical charity RACQ LifeFlight Air Ambulance to continue flying.

McIntyre said, “We have implemented measures to do what we can to support our operators who are at the face of COVID-19, keeping their teams safe, continuing to provide tracking, 24-hour distress and emergency monitoring to ensure operators can stay in touch with their people.”

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