A POTENTIALLY life-saving application for rescue workers in villages cut off by flooding has been developed thanks to a Malvern pilot.
The Wings Like Eagles charity app is the brainchild of helicopter aid pilot Captain Clive Langmead.
While flying to cut off villages in the flooded Limpopo valley in Mozambique last year, Clive had to scribble place names, GPS locations, people in need, floodwater limits and damaged bridges into his notebook.
“How much better, I thought, If I could put this straight onto my iPad and share it instantly – electronically – on landing, instead of copying it out longhand,” he told the Observer.
So, together with cartographer Dr Anneley McMillan from Helyx SIS in Twyning, Clive set out on a journey to see if an iPad ‘app’ could be developed.
A year later and the app for the Collector map base was ready for a flight test.
As the Wings Like Eagles Jetranger helicopter stays in Africa, Clive and Anneley hired a similar aircraft from Heliflight in Gloucester for the test which followed trials in cars and a fixed wing Cessna.
A route was plotted around the Vale of Evesham, an area which is also prone to flooding, and the helicopter flew on a representative search and rescue mission, noting places and incidents on an iPad in the cockpit.
Each was a typical flood concern such as ‘Food Needed’, ‘Emergency Rescue’ or ‘Potential Landing Site’.
On landing the whole map and all sites overflown were transferred to an Android phone in a matter of seconds.
“What an amazing leap forward, All that scrabbling around with note books and paper in the aircraft just disappears,” Clive said.
“The accuracy was first class. But the best thing is that it is so simple to use. Just what us simple pilots like!”
“We certainly are at the cutting edge with this, said Anneley.
“Though we have been working on this for a year the mapping technology only became available last month!
“We can certainly see a wide use for it. And with picture icons it can be used in any language,” she added.