Pontiac Ouest receives Advanced RPAS certification and rescue drone

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Volotus Aerospace’s Matthew Johnston, firefighters Paul Gagnon (with the Pontiac Ouest rescue drone), Dan Fleury and Mike Wood, Volotus Aerospace Randy Green and firefighter Ian Payne.

Peter L. Smith

UPPER PONTIAC – Four firefighters from the Pontiac Ouest Fire Safety Service recently completed a course to become certified in Advanced RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) for their search and rescue drone project.
Firefighters Paul Gagnon (project coordinator), Ian Payne, Dan Fleury and Mike Wood began their training in October 2020. They completed ground school, passed both Transport Canada exams and finally on the weekend of September 18-19, they completed an in-person flight review from Volatus Aerospace (Edmonton, Alberta).
The main goal of the project is to assist Pontiac Ouest with their more challenging fire and rescue situations.
The drone has several attachments and features like night vision, heat and thermal sensors, spotlights, speakers to communicate with victims and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) beacon. Pontiac Ouest bought the drone with funds allocated in their 2021 budget. It will also be used within the MRC Pontiac for off-road and water rescue programs due to an agreement between Pontiac Ouest and the MRC.