Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Falcon Project Uses Rats to Build Bigfoot Blimp

The Rats logo. Rats is an acronym for Remote Aerial Tripod Specialists.

An Alberta news source, MetroNews, showcases one of their local businesses involved in the Falcon Project. The company is called Rats Inc.

An interesting tidbit from the archived website is this tidbit about how aerial surveillance of arctic ice flows inspired the co-founder of Rats Inc.

Read a brief history of Rats Inc. and then the article from MetroNews.

Rats Inc. History:
Stephen [Rats, Inc co-founder] has taken a lifetime of interest and experience in remote controlled aviation to an obvious next level.  As a young man, he migrated towards the Ultra-light Aircraft Industry and with a background as an instrumentation machinist, he then managed the development of the Christensen Ultra-light program.  This included setting up manufacturing facilities, training of employees and clients.  In total, Stephen has produced over 35 fixed-wing aircraft, including a number of antique aircraft restorations.

With a desire to train as a Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, he hired on with a company that had acquired a Challenger 601 for the purposes of aerial reconnaissance of ice flows throughout out the Arctic Circle.  It was during this 3 year Arctic period that was most influential for Stephen.  As it was then ''he derived the concept of Remote Controlled Imagery''.  In 1993 Stephen founded a company which was first to introduce R/C Aerial Photography to the public.  After a couple of years, clients included everyone from government agencies, corporate firms to private individuals.

In 1997 another inventor, Keith Campbell and Stephen formed their present company, Rats Inc.  Collectively they've developed their line of products into the company as it now stands.  With combined focus, their long term plans have withstood the test of time and as a result, one of the finest products developed within the Canadian Borders.

MetroNews Article 

Bigfoot Beware! Alberta company at centre of sasquatch search

By Annalise Klingbeil

American researchers believe a high-tech airship created by a company located in the Alberta hamlet of Lac La Biche could solve the mystery of the sasquatch once and for all.

Utah-based bigfoot researcher William Barnes is trying to raise $300,000 to buy a helium-filled airship that would quietly float over dense North American forests and use thermal-imaging equipment to film footage of the legendary – not to mention elusive – creature.

An official fundraising drive for the venture, which has been dubbed The Falcon Project, kicked off last Saturday in Oregon with an all-day symposium.

After a personal encounter with bigfoot in 1997 and more than a decade spent researching sasquatch researchers, the project’s founder came up with the idea to use unmanned aerial surveillance to record the fast-moving nocturnal primate.

“We don’t want to bother them, we just want to study them,” Barnes said.

That’s where Stephen Barkley, the president of Remote Aerial Tripod Specialists Inc. (RATS), fits in.

His company in Lac La Biche, a hamlet located 220 kilometres northeast of Edmonton with a population of fewer than 3,000 people, has designed the aircraft to be used for the ambitious aerial undertaking.

“If it wasn’t for his (Barkley’s) innovation of this type of airship, this would never work,” Barnes said.

In his 15 years of running RATS, a business that provides blimps and airships for outdoor advertising and photography, the entrepreneur said this is one of the most out of the ordinary projects he’s been a part of.

Barkley said if his company can play a part in finding evidence of the bipedal hairy humanoid creature, “it will make everyone involved famous, if you will.”

While a prototype of the Aurora MK II, the airship that will carry thermal-imaging and high-resolution wireless videography equipment, has been designed, a full-scale model won’t be built until funds are secured.

“Being an inventor and an entrepreneur, it would really be a feather in our cap to have the platform out and operating,” Barkley said.

The business-owner said he has “done his research on bigfoot” and wants to see what a functioning ship hovering above the forest will be able to capture.

“If they do come up with a definitive answer to the whole thing, then, boy, I’d sure have loved to have been part of that,” he said.

The team behind the Falcon Project includes Jeff Meldrum, an Idaho State University professor of anatomy and anthropology, who has been probing the primate’s existence for nearly two decades after examining inexplicable footprints in Washington.

Founder Barnes, a former gold dredger, is eager to secure funds to purchase Barkley’s hovering invention.

He still remembers vividly what he says was a sasquatch encounter in the middle of the night at a campsite in California in 1997.

The hairy creature was about three feet away, walking on two feet and “too big to be a bear,” recalled Barnes.

“I was scared,” he said. “My heart was beating so hard I could feel it in my eardrums.”

SRC: Metro News
Model of Falcon Project Blimp, Aurora MK II

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