The King Air 260 aircraft have been modified for the installation of the latest infrared (IR) sensing technology, the Overwatch Imaging TK-9 Earthwatch Airborne Sensor, along with legacy U.S. Forest Service sensors, that can accurately map wildfires, even at night and through smoke. This information is critical for firefighters to have when the exact extent of a fire is not known due to darkness, smoke, size of the fire, rapid spread, or complex terrain. IR mapping aircraft can also be used to detect new fires started by lightning when they are very small.
“We are honored the U.S. Forest Service has added the King Air 260 to its fleet,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation. “Whether for the wildfire detection and mapping, resource management, aerial supervision module/lead plane or air attack, the King Air continues to demonstrate its leadership in this mission. Customer faith in our legendary products and trust in our company and our team are at the core of our enduring relationship with U.S Forest Service.”
The King Air 260 brings state-of-the art technology to the cockpit and offers greater ease of flight. The cockpit features the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle system, which supports pilots in their critical mission of delivering people or cargo by automatically managing engine power from the takeoff roll through the climb, cruise, descent, landing, and go-around phases of flight. This enhancement reduces pilot workload and is designed to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions.
The King Air 260 cockpit also features a digital pressurization controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurization during both climb and descent, reducing pilot workload and increasing overall passenger comfort. The pressurization gauges have been integrated with the powerful Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck.
The aircraft includes the Collins Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar, providing pilots with a fully automatic system that is optimized to detect short, mid and long-range weather.