Welcome, Commercial Drone Pilots!
Join our growing community today!
Sign up

Flight Ops for SAR

rvrrat14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
211
Reaction score
81
Age
59
Location
U.S.
A little background; Part 107/61 pilot; Phantom 4 Advanced; Past Asst. Fire Chief in small community.

Beginning to help local LEO and FD get started with drone ops. SAR is a big concern. Crawling before walking at this point.

Was wondering when searching a large area what type of ‘grid’ or mission do you use. Do you fly watching the map screen/snail trial, do you use an autonomous flight control (waypoint mission, ground station pro, etc)?

My experience has only been smaller areas using a high level overview of the entire area then a more detailed study at lower altitude using the map screen. Areas have been small and/or limited geographically (river). Thanks!
 

BigAl07

Administrator
Staff member
DSAR Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
2,347
Reaction score
1,841
Age
49
Location
Western North Carolina
It depends on what the IC is asking for. We "have" flown autonomous mapping missions but this was after the initial call-out and things had gone "Cold".

Our IC gives us an area of interest and we fly it LIVE. We establish an acceptable height and coverage and I try to draw a grid on the screen to follow. At this point we are recording EVERYTHING for post flight review by more eyes. Once the flight is over we remove the camera card and it goes to the Command Trailer for review and processing.

Keep in mind that a lot of the work of the sUAS is to "eliminate" areas quickly to allow boots on the ground to move to areas that a sUAS can not cover adequately.

For a great primer on sUAS used in SAR check out a book by Gene Robinson called First to Deploy.
First to Deploy - sUAS News - The Business of Drones

Another good one is by Christopher Schl, Drones - UAS for Emergency Response Services.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rvrrat14

James Vaughn

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
9
Reaction score
6
Age
58
Location
Reno
Website
www.skyline-photo.net
It depends on what the IC is asking for. We "have" flown autonomous mapping missions but this was after the initial call-out and things had gone "Cold".

Our IC gives us an area of interest and we fly it LIVE. We establish an acceptable height and coverage and I try to draw a grid on the screen to follow. At this point we are recording EVERYTHING for post flight review by more eyes. Once the flight is over we remove the camera card and it goes to the Command Trailer for review and processing.

Keep in mind that a lot of the work of the sUAS is to "eliminate" areas quickly to allow boots on the ground to move to areas that a sUAS can not cover adequately.

For a great primer on sUAS used in SAR check out a book by Gene Robinson called First to Deploy.
First to Deploy - sUAS News - The Business of Drones

Another good one is by Christopher Schl, Drones - UAS for Emergency Response Services.
I purchased Gene Robinson’s book through the sUAS News website via PayPal but never received a confirmation email and have yet to receive any information on how to obtain this book. Just wanted to put that out there to anyone interested in the topic of SAR & drones. I’ll update if I ever get it as any links I’ve used have been dead ends.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rvrrat14

PCTyphoon

New Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Age
53
Location
Liberty, SC
I purchased Gene Robinson’s book through the sUAS News website via PayPal but never received a confirmation email and have yet to receive any information on how to obtain this book. Just wanted to put that out there to anyone interested in the topic of SAR & drones. I’ll update if I ever get it as any links I’ve used have been dead ends.
I had to email a couple of times to get mine.
 

LUIS MARTINEZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
1,041
Age
67
Location
CASA GRANDE, AZ
Website
www.martinezaerial.com

miturnbo

Well-Known Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
45
Reaction score
26
Age
55
I have a similar question. The book referenced above appears to be about 2 years old and the technology in this area is rapidly changing.
Question 1: Is this book dependent on the technology at the time and thus dated at this point?

Question 2: We are finding that to accomplish the "mission" at the time we have to rely on various apps. Running waypoints using something like DroneDeploy or manually flying with video or using GS.. there are too many apps and not enough reviews on any of them. So, is there a recommended list of apps that we should look at for SAR type missions.
Requirements here are on being able to adequately cover sectors with pictures or video and on review or realtime being able to give geo location to the IC.

Question 3: How important is it to have the equipment fit the task? I think I know the answer here but when trying to pitch spending to a tight budgeted leadership, I need real data to back up the request.
 

LUIS MARTINEZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
1,041
Age
67
Location
CASA GRANDE, AZ
Website
www.martinezaerial.com
I have a similar question. The book referenced above appears to be about 2 years old and the technology in this area is rapidly changing.

Question 1: The book was outdated when the author finished it;). UAS technology is moving way too fast, UAS users must stay on top of the field every minute of everyday...

Question 2: "We are finding that to accomplish the "mission" at the time we have to rely on various apps." I haven't found an app that will suit all missions. I prefer to fly visual, with a large monitor and extra eyeballs on it. No app can meet every mission requirement, but you must test and answer that question within mission parameters.

Question 3: How important is it to have the equipment fit the task? Critical. The budget challenge is an everyday fact of life. If your bosses want hard data, it will be hard to find. Public safety use of UAS is very new (3-4 years?). The best approach is to find users with experience and anecdotal evidence. Have you done a needs analysis with your agency? Do the decision makers understand UAS tech? Has there been a discussion on the proposed uses of the UAS?

I have an operations manual I wrote for a PD, PM if interested.
 

miturnbo

Well-Known Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
45
Reaction score
26
Age
55
Thanks Luis.
Q1 - I think I knew the answer but was interested in whether there are good concepts to carry forward. Probably would be my guess.
Q2 - This probably answers my Q3 question since flying manual with a large monitor does have some requirements around technology
Q3 - I've done a presentation (not yet given) outlining real issues we've seen in the field and supplying proposed solutions. I'm building the case still. I would be very interested in what you wrote as well. Look for the PM. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: LUIS MARTINEZ

LUIS MARTINEZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
1,041
Age
67
Location
CASA GRANDE, AZ
Website
www.martinezaerial.com
Thanks Luis.
Q1 - I think I knew the answer but was interested in whether there are good concepts to carry forward. Probably would be my guess.
Q2 - This probably answers my Q3 question since flying manual with a large monitor does have some requirements around technology
Q3 - I've done a presentation (not yet given) outlining real issues we've seen in the field and supplying proposed solutions. I'm building the case still. I would be very interested in what you wrote as well. Look for the PM. :)
One of the issues I had with the PD was a failure to get a proper needs assessment before beginning the program. I 'm a retired chief of police and very **** (I think is in the DNA):mad: At my job cops continually paraded through my office with great "ideas." Ideas are a dime a dozen. I gave them a written format with questions to answer first; what is it, will it improve our service to the community,/how, implementation schedule, training needs, liability issues, other users,operations guidelines, acquisition costs,training costs,maintenance costs, etc....Needless to say, with few exceptions that was as far as the "idea" went. I had no time to do research and that wasn't my job. I had a 100 employee department to run.

(forgive me if I am preaching to the choir)

IMHO, before spending dollar one, a serious series of discussions must be held; first by the top command level to develop a needs assessment discussion plan, followed by meetings with the boots on the ground (cops/firefighters). What do they want/expect from a UAS. If this step is skipped, or done after purchase and implementation, the negative nellies can kill your program. "You didn't say it couldn't do this or that, what a waste of money." Trust me on this.
PS- I really have no experience with a ground SAR organization. In the 70s I was a SAR mission pilot with the Civil Air Patrol, that's it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: R Martin

miturnbo

Well-Known Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
45
Reaction score
26
Age
55
One of the issues I had with the PD was a failure to get a proper needs assessment before beginning the program. I 'm a retired chief of police and very **** (I think is in the DNA):mad: At my job cops continually paraded through my office with great "ideas." Ideas are a dime a dozen. I gave them a written format with questions to answer first; what is it, will it improve our service to the community,/how, implementation schedule, training needs, liability issues, other users,operations guidelines, acquisition costs,training costs,maintenance costs, etc....Needless to say, with few exceptions that was as far as the "idea" went. I had no time to do research and that wasn't my job. I had a 100 employee department to run.

(forgive me if I am preaching to the choir)

IMHO, before spending dollar one, a serious series of discussions must be held; first by the top command level to develop a needs assessment discussion plan, followed by meetings with the boots on the ground (cops/firefighters). What do they want/expect from a UAS. If this step is skipped, or done after purchase and implementation, the negative nellies can kill your program. "You didn't say it couldn't do this or that, what a waste of money." Trust me on this.
PS- I really have no experience with a ground SAR organization. In the 70s I was a SAR mission pilot with the Civil Air Patrol, that's it.
Thank you very much for your service and your response! You bring up some very valid points that I do need to take into consideration.

I did neglect to also mention that one of our missions is to work closely with local LEO's and fire departments. I say local but really, we are covering a large area. Most of these departments do not have their own UAS program and we are routinely asked to assist in missions. The local PD also tends to be a donor to our org and we have a retired county sheriff on our board. So having a strategy that includes potential needs of these agencies I think will be vital as well.
 

miturnbo

Well-Known Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
45
Reaction score
26
Age
55
If you plan to work in a NIMS environment, you will probably be required to have passed a number of the ICS online courses.
Yes. Already have. FEMA 100, 200 & 700. SARTECH III and wide area search certified.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigAl07

miturnbo

Well-Known Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
45
Reaction score
26
Age
55
One of the issues I had with the PD was a failure to get a proper needs assessment before beginning the program. I 'm a retired chief of police and very **** (I think is in the DNA):mad: At my job cops continually paraded through my office with great "ideas." Ideas are a dime a dozen. I gave them a written format with questions to answer first; what is it, will it improve our service to the community,/how, implementation schedule, training needs, liability issues, other users,operations guidelines, acquisition costs,training costs,maintenance costs, etc....Needless to say, with few exceptions that was as far as the "idea" went. I had no time to do research and that wasn't my job. I had a 100 employee department to run.

(forgive me if I am preaching to the choir)

IMHO, before spending dollar one, a serious series of discussions must be held; first by the top command level to develop a needs assessment discussion plan, followed by meetings with the boots on the ground (cops/firefighters). What do they want/expect from a UAS. If this step is skipped, or done after purchase and implementation, the negative nellies can kill your program. "You didn't say it couldn't do this or that, what a waste of money." Trust me on this.
PS- I really have no experience with a ground SAR organization. In the 70s I was a SAR mission pilot with the Civil Air Patrol, that's it.
I’ve read this several times and it makes more and more sense each time. This is exactly what we are going through at the moment with our leadership. They have been burned in the past with promise of a great program only to have spent a ton of money and gotten nothing. So I think you are exactly right here.

I appreciate the help here. This is all good stuff!
 

rvrrat14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
211
Reaction score
81
Age
59
Location
U.S.
Can someone tell me about working with LE. I have yet to fly for them, only Fire, but would like to hear about liabilities during and after the flights; surveillence from non-LE individual, court, etc.

I am considered an employee of the city as a member of Fire. Have spoken with one guy in a neighboring city Fire that has flown for PD. Just wondering how you guys handle the issues. Thanks!
 

miturnbo

Well-Known Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
45
Reaction score
26
Age
55
Can someone tell me about working with LE. I have yet to fly for them, only Fire, but would like to hear about liabilities during and after the flights; surveillence from non-LE individual, court, etc.

I am considered an employee of the city as a member of Fire. Have spoken with one guy in a neighboring city Fire that has flown for PD. Just wondering how you guys handle the issues. Thanks!
Apparently a lot of potential liability issues so the program has to be really strict. That’s what I’m seeing the more I delve into the subject. Which is really kind of sad given the potential for such good results.
 

LUIS MARTINEZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
1,041
Age
67
Location
CASA GRANDE, AZ
Website
www.martinezaerial.com
Can someone tell me about working with LE. I have yet to fly for them, only Fire, but would like to hear about liabilities during and after the flights; surveillence from non-LE individual, court, etc.

I am considered an employee of the city as a member of Fire. Have spoken with one guy in a neighboring city Fire that has flown for PD. Just wondering how you guys handle the issues. Thanks!
I want to offer info. but I am not sure what your concern is. You work for the FD, and are the FD UAS pilot, correct? And want to fly for the same jurisdiction's PD if they ask for help?
 

rvrrat14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
211
Reaction score
81
Age
59
Location
U.S.
I want to offer info. but I am not sure what your concern is. You work for the FD, and are the FD UAS pilot, correct? And want to fly for the same jurisdiction's PD if they ask for help?
Yes. Yes. Are there any concerns about privacy, surveillance, or things I shouldn’t see?
 

LUIS MARTINEZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
1,041
Age
67
Location
CASA GRANDE, AZ
Website
www.martinezaerial.com
Yes. Yes. Are there any concerns about privacy, surveillance, or things I shouldn’t see?
Yes. Yes. Are there any concerns about privacy, surveillance, or things I shouldn’t see?
Everyone of those issues will (should) be addressed in the PD UAS operations manual/policies/written orders....with a review by the dept's legal counsel.
 
  • Like
Reactions: R Martin

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
3,001
Messages
28,615
Members
4,346
Latest member
jjzertuche