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RCP0909_024-027_Feature 10/16/09 11:37 PM Page 27
Because different materials absorb and fences and even power lines.
radiate thermal energy at different rates,
an area that we think of as being one tem-
Moving Forward
perature is actually a mosaic of subtly dif- Professional helicopter operations are
ferent temperatures. FLIRs detect these increasingly under the FAA eye in spite
temperature differences and translate them of their outstanding safety record. The ad-
into image detail, making it possible for dition of thermal imaging – especially
aviators to detect things with tiny differ- EVS capability – is an affordable way to
ences in temperature – like boundary even safer, more efficient, operations.

TV video.
Everything we encounter in our day-to-
day lives gives off thermal energy, even
ice. The hotter something is the more ther-
mal energy it emits. This emitted thermal
energy is called a “heat signature.” When
two objects next to one another have even
subtly different heat signatures, they show
up quite clearly to a FLIR regardless of
lighting conditions.
Thermal energy comes from a combi-
nation of sources, depending on what you
are viewing at the time. Some things –
warm-blooded animals (including peo-
ple!), engines, and machinery, for exam-
ple – create their own heat, either
biologically or mechanically. Other things
absorb heat from the sun during the day
and radiate it off during the night.
www.ROTORCRAFTPRO.com • September 2009 27
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