Supporting Complex Firefighting Operations: Ciconia’s Coordination and Collision Avoidance System Tested on Manned Helicopters

Ciconia's Coordination & Collision Avoidance System

Credit: Capt. Eran Nir of Ciconia

Ciconia Tests Collision Avoidance System on Manned Helicopters, Paving Way for Unmanned Aircraft

Ciconia, an Israel-based aviation technology company, has successfully tested its latest Coordination & Collision Avoidance System (C&CAS) on two helicopters. The system, which is designed for both manned and unmanned aircraft, has been tailored to support firefighting operations.

The flight test aimed to assess the C&CAS’s ability to manage potential mid-air conflicts between two helicopters engaged in firefighting tasks. The system proved its reliability by alerting crew members to possible collisions and providing directions to avoid them, without overwhelming the crew with excessive information.

Ciconia’s Coordination & Collision Avoidance System

Ciconia co-founder, experimental test pilot, and VP BD, Capt. Gil Yanai, observed the flight test and stated, “The C&CAS met our expectations in providing timely alerts and precise evasive steering instructions.” He further noted that the system remained silent during safe maneuvers but immediately alerted the crew when potentially dangerous actions were taken.

Eran Baron, experimental test pilot, director of C&CAS, and flight test manager, confirmed that the preliminary results of the test were consistent with extensive simulations and ground tests conducted throughout the year. The team plans to analyze the flight records in detail to gain a comprehensive understanding of the C&CAS performance during all stages of the flight tests.

Ciconia’s CEO and co-founder, Moshe Cohen, explained that the test flight is part of the work being done under the BIRD foundation HLS program, in collaboration with Sagetech Avionics. He emphasized that the C&CAS allows drones and manned aircraft to safely navigate together in congested airspace, even under unfavorable visibility conditions. Cohen suggested that tragic collisions involving firefighter helicopters from CalFire and US Army helicopters could have been avoided with the C&CAS system onboard.

This successful test with manned helicopters could be a precursor to enabling unmanned vehicles, marking a significant step towards integrating drones into complex and congested airspace. The C&CAS system’s ability to provide critical support for firefighting operations also highlights the potential for unmanned aircraft to contribute to such high-stakes tasks in the future.

Ciconia, with representation in the United States through Ciconia North America Inc., is a leader in developing Coordination and Collision Avoidance Systems for aviation platforms. The company’s unique algorithm capabilities virtually eliminate false alarm rates in their range of Collision Avoidance Systems. In addition to producing cutting-edge technology, Ciconia offers integrated solutions that incorporate its innovation with third-party products, applications, resources, and solutions to meet a wide range of aerial coordination and safety needs.

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