Monday, 31 December 2018

Gyroflares: Here I Am!

Gyroflares, aka gyrobeacons are a signalling device. It serves as a flying strobe light or non-incendiary flare. To use a gyroflare the container is placed on a level surface or held firmly. A small charge launches the gyroflare several yards up into the air. This gives the gyroflare sufficient time to deploy its rotors and generate enough lift to begin rising to its working altitude. The gyroflare will ascend above any nearby trees or other obstacles.
Essentially the gyroflare is a small UAV that will hover above its point of release until its small (B cell) battery is exhausted. The body of the gyroflare is covered in red, green and blue LEDs. By using these in combination the gyroflare can simulate a wide range of colours. Some models have LEDs with enhanced infra-red output.
The behaviour of a gyroflare can be programmed before launch. Most, but not all, wearable software packages include the utility. Betas and knock-off tech may lack this and other useful programs. Alternately they may have faulty versions of the software that may cause the gyroflare to behave in unexpected ways.
Typically, a gyroflare program might instruct the device to fly high and emit a high intensity strobe for several minutes to attract attention. This would be followed by a longer period of lower output to guide observers to the location. In an emergency situation the gyroflare can pulse “S-O-S” in Morse code. When multiple beacons are in use each can flash a unique code. Better models of gyroflare trail a wire antenna and also transmit radio pulses.
Gyroflares are mainly intended for signalling and location marking. While not intended for such use, they can be used as an illumination source by programming them to hover lower and produce a constant high output of light. This will deplete their batteries at a higher rate than usual.
Gyroflares are often carried by wilderness travellers and other civilians who might have a need for them. Their use in mountains and other areas where strong winds are encountered can be problematic. Hovering gyroflares may be easily shot down by certain weapons so their use in high intensity conflicts is limited. The military do use them for non-combat missions and some “operations other than war” (OOTW).
How long a gyroflare can be used will depend upon how high and how long it is required to fly, wind conditions and its light output. When the battery is nearly expended the gyroflare will gently descend to its point of origin, providing it has not been blown off position by strong winds. It is recommended the gyroflare is placed back in its container and returned to the manufacturer for battery and cartridge replacement. Credit for this may be used towards future gyroflare purchases.