High-rise rescue plane in the works

Moller International has begun working on a version of its Neuera-series VTOL aircraft specifically designed for urban search and rescue operations, dubbed the “Firefly.”

FireFlySM“The Firefly can address the pressing need for a vehicle that is able to extract trapped personnel directly from the upper floors of office buildings,” said Dr. Paul Moller, president. “It can accomplish this by positioning itself adjacent to the building near a window, thereby enabling trapped personnel to exit the building directly into the Firefly.”

Unlike a helicopter, the Firefly’s enclosed rotors can approach and dock to the side of a high-rise building without interference from a dangerous overhead rotor, he noted.

Based on the company’s M200 Neuera aircraft, the Firefly will be capable of retrieving three people per trip. The Firefly is equipped with larger engines to accommodate the increased payload and will have a retractable ramp with handrails to facilitate movement to and from a building, company officials explained. The operator is seated at the rear of the vehicle where he can oversee and provide direction to those being rescued.

The Firefly operator will use a computer-assisted flight control system to maneuver the aircraft, requiring less training than conventional air-rescue vehicles. The company anticipates that public safety personnel will be able to operate the vehicle under the authority already granted to local fire and rescue organizations, as the high-rise rescue will typically occur within city limits.

For more information: Moller.com

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