As an Incident Commander, or Ops Section Chief, have you ever been frustrated that you couldn’t see what was happening at your fire? Has the air attack pilot ever tried explaining some physical reference that just didn’t make sense? How about the fire behaviour and how many times have you had to ask what the fire was doing where and when? How many times have you wished that you could see exactly what is happening without even asking? If you have been in aerial firefighting for as long as we have that answer is probably 30 years! It’s a good educated guess that in excess of 95% of the current foresters and Incident Commanders have never seen a live fire from above. The closest they have probably come is seeing still frames after the fact. That is all about to change with a very exciting new and innovative product called FireFly. FireFly was developed and built by experienced pilots, as a service and not a product. The service is directly related to what they do above every single fire, operating all aircraft types from fixed wings to rotaries. The product is what makes the service just so much better. FireFly is proudly manufactured by the internationally renowned electronic fire detection camera system specialists, Firehawk. FireFly is made up of the following components –

  1. 2 x High Definition Cameras mounted inside the cockpit. One is positioned looking out of the window, in the best place to see what the pilot sees, and the other is a cockpit cam that records the instruments.
  2. The cameras are recorded and saved continuously, in HD, into a ruggedized case.
  3. The cameras are not a permanent fixture, and do not draw power from the aircraft, so there are no STC’s or Modification requests applicable.
  4. The carry case includes GPRS based transmitter gear that live steams the video to any computer or smartphone with the correct software
FireFly can safely and legally transmit on multiple platforms, either handheld smartphone mobiles or to an internet enabled Incident Command Post (ICP), situated anywhere in the world. As long as the user has internet they have the same picture as what the pilots see. The data is also recorded in high definition for use after the fact in training or post fire debriefs.

Cost Effectivity

Cost efficiency of Aerial firefighting is something that is very much in the spotlight in the current economic climate. Let’s take a common aerial resource compliment on a fire, and some rounded off operational costs
R/Hr R/min R/second
AT 802 R 22 000.00 R 366.67 R 6.11
Turbo thrush R 15 000.00 R 250.00 R 4.17
Chopper R 22 000.00 R 366.67 R 6.11
Air attack R 3 500.00 R 58.33 R 0.97
R 1 041.67 R 17.36
We figure that at over R1 000.00 cost per minute it would make absolute sense to be as effective as possible and to curtail any possible operational delays in efficient deployment. Command and control pilots have been doing exactly this for many years, but how often have there been challenges that occurred because the IC, or Ops section chief, wasn’t quite working off the same picture? What if we now said that the entire service will cost less than 10 minutes of flight time, because of increased efficiency, on a single fire to offset the monthly costs? Then factor in the fact that extinguishing the fire faster curtails losses on the ground and it’s a very tough deal not to seriously consider! We are available for demonstrations and further discussions on the specifications when needed.


The air attack plane is over the fire with multiple aerial resources working on both left and right flanks. As the Initial Attack IC you need to get crews into multiple target areas. You arrive on scene and position in an area where you have good GPRS data coverage. You open up your FireFly application and see what the aircraft are seeing, and that is not just the air attack but every aerial resource at your disposal. As the air attack flies around the fire you see exactly what he is describing and you update your situational awareness at the same time. The aerial operations continue seamlessly and you can move crews to exactly where they are needed based on real-time visual information. Teams can be kept safe by keeping them out of dangerous areas and both the aerial and ground attack are most effectively utilised because they can be continuously monitored. Communications are vastly improved with the aircraft because there is no ambiguity with instructions given or received. No time is wasted on the aerial operations and the fire is extinguished quickly. The aircraft lands back at the base. The video footage was automatically recorded and can be used in the post fire debrief. The data can be saved for the court case that is pending, as there were multiple landowners involved in alleged breach of the Act 101. The footage becomes part of the legal documents and no one can dispute what happened during any visually recorded events on the fire.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us. It is Aerial Fire View's policy to respect your privacy regarding any information we may collect from you across our website,, and other sites we own and operate.

We only ask for personal information when we truly need it to provide a service to you. We collect it by fair and lawful means, with your knowledge and consent. We also let you know why we’re collecting it and how it will be used.

We only retain collected information for as long as necessary to provide you with your requested service. What data we store, we’ll protect within commercially acceptable means to prevent loss and theft, as well as unauthorised access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.

We don’t share any personally identifying information publicly or with third-parties, except when required to by law.

Our website may link to external sites that are not operated by us. Please be aware that we have no control over the content and practices of these sites, and cannot accept responsibility or liability for their respective privacy policies.

You are free to refuse our request for your personal information, with the understanding that we may be unable to provide you with some of your desired services.

Your continued use of our website will be regarded as acceptance of our practices around privacy and personal information. If you have any questions about how we handle user data and personal information, feel free to contact us.

This policy is effective as of 1 August 2020.