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Historically thermal infrared installations were physically large, costing up to $1,000,000 per plane and required a trained operator. Passive high-resolution IR for seeing through smoke and mapping can be purchased for under $5,000. Installation is quick, low cost, and FAA approval paperwork (337 field form) is also simple. 

In-flight, an additional operator is not needed.  ATGS/Pilot usage is easy on first the first flight during live missions, no training needed. Systems are automatic and intuitive. Everything turns on with the airplane’s master switch. Shutdown the same. The ATGS and pilot need only glance at a screen already aligned the right window. The same IR camera can also record movies, takes snapshots or transmit continuously live to any one ground location, or every firefighter's iPhone. Within minutes A mapping person on the ground or in the plane can create heat perimeters for the GIS team or WiFire projection models.

Due to their small size, Long wave infrared (LWIR) microbolometer cameras can be mounted on inspection plate with a tiny open hole. A good quality camera, such as the FLIR Vue or Quark weigning ounces, will mount behind or attached to a normal inspection panel. The FAA has approved this insta drilled with a quarter sized hole. The tiny IR camera resides inside the plane away from the wind & elements, yet has a clear air view. The fix mount is aligned to look down for mapping, forward or to the side in the direction an Air Attack, Lead Plane or tanker looks.

Camera power is wired through a power converter directly or many cameras use USB 5VDC like an iPhone. The whole system turns on and off with the aircraft’s primary master switch or avionics master switch. 

In the cockpit, a small display or iPad/Android is mounted for easy viewing. The display is easily viewed by anyone on the aircraft, and does not block the pilot’s view to any instruments, nor the outside. The IR can be in the natural scan for pilot.