With a small team of firefighters battling the fires burning in western Australia, the company behind the A1 Firefighting Plane says it is saving lives by saving the lives of others.
Key points:The company’s founder and CEO, David Miller, says it has been working on the A-1 for over 15 yearsThe plane has a pilot’s seat, but not on the groundThe plane is a twin-engine plane with a pilot-seat, but it is not equipped to fire on the fire source ABC News (AAP: APTN)David Miller, who founded the company, said the A11, which was developed in Australia and is now being used by a number of Australian agencies, is the most advanced aircraft available.
“We’ve been flying it since we were a teenager,” he said.
“There are no other aircraft that can do what we can do.”
Mr Miller said the company has been flying the A21 for nearly 15 years, and has had more than 4,000 hours of flight time.
“It’s just been a pleasure to fly,” he added.
“In a country where the average lifespan is just over 20 years, the A23 and A21 are an absolute lifesaver.”
The A11 is powered by two turbofan engines.
The plane, which is a Twin-Engine Jet-Propelled Anti-Tank Aircraft, has a cabin for the pilot and two passenger seats, but there is no ground crew on board.
It can reach speeds of up to 270km/h, and the engine power is boosted by a large fuel tank and a propeller, as well as the use of carbon fibre.
The plane’s main job is to defend against small fires.
Mr Miller, a retired firefighter who was the CEO of Australian Airlines in Sydney before it merged with AirAsia, said there were more fires that were out of control in the country than the previous year.
“A lot of people think that Australia has the most dangerous country in the world, but in fact, we have one of the safest countries in the entire world,” he explained.
“I think there are about a million fires burning around the country every day, and we have over 4,600 people who have died as a result of fires since 2007.”
That’s almost 10 per cent of the population.
“Mr Davis said the firefighting plane saved more lives than any other aircraft in Australia in the last five years.”
The A21 is a remarkable aircraft, it has the highest performance, the best protection of any aircraft in the industry,” he told ABC News Breakfast.”
This has saved more than two million lives in the past five years, almost 1.8 million deaths in Australia, almost 100,000 in the US, and over a million in Europe.
“The company said the first flight of the A14A3, which it will be testing in the next few weeks, will be the company’s first test flight.”
If it is successful and the aircraft performs to the highest standards, then we will be able to make our final decision about the next flight, and that will be in late June,” Mr Davis said.
The company is now working with local authorities to test the plane.”
At the moment we are only testing it in remote areas, but the plane will eventually be flown in all areas,” Mr Miller said.