Thermal Imaging for Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Applications
Thermal cameras are useful for a variety of aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) applications because of their ability to observe people and objects under otherwise low-visibility conditions. The purpose of this research is to examine the capabilities of thermal cameras for ARFF operations by conducting both full- and small-scale tests.
Testing in this research program included viewing hot spots from the fuselage exterior of both a passenger and cargo configurations, evaluating the effects various aircraft fuselage skin materials have on the camera’s ability to see radiant heat, as well as testing the performance of various cameras in a Driver’s Enhanced Vision System (DEVS) application.
Results from full-scale testing showed that all the thermal cameras tested were capable of identifying hot spots on the aircraft exterior. These hot spots were shown to directly correlate with damage to the aircraft insulation. All thermal cameras tested during small-scale testing presented a varying amount of error in the measurement of spot temperature on all aircraft skin materials. During the DEVS evaluations, the cameras with higher resolutions and high contrast filters outperformed the other cameras.
Matthew Short, Jonathan Torres; and Jack Kreckie