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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

Missing Search Successful With Drone Flight

Okay, a recent flight wasn’t to find a missing person but to find a pair of $750 drone batteries I had removed from the aircraft and laid in some tall grass on a very dark night. It’s official, you can use a $30,000 drone to locate $750 batteries. Thank goodness they were still hot from the last flight. Read More »

Put Together This Amplified Speaker to Fly on Your Drone and Communicate With People On the Ground

In an effort to create affordable solutions for emergency service pilots operating drones for fire and search and rescue groups, here is my latest budget loving Frankenstein solution. The dedicated equipment for this comes in at a grand total of $76, not including parts used for other things. The Wake Forest Fire Department coverage area has some large lakes in ... Read More »

DJI Matrice 210, Zenmuse Z30, Hotspot, and DJI Pilot Update 0.5.1

Today I updated the Pilot app to the latest version 0.5.1 and in combination with the latest Zenmuse Z30 firmware update of 1.00.00.47 my issues with drift with the Z30 camera when zoomed has gone away for the most part. The only other change I made was adding the external GPs antenna in anticipation of adding the upward gimbal. The ... Read More »

Wake Forest Fire Department UAS Search and Rescue Flight Debriefing

Around 3:30 on 1-29-2018 Wake Forest Fire Department drone was requested to participate in the search for a missing Rocky Mount resident, Stephen Miller (70) who was last seen two days prior on Saturday according to the WRAL online story. Chief Ed Barrett and drone pilot Steve Rhode arrived in Rocky Mount at approximately 4:40 PM at the search location ... Read More »

Hazmat Response Takes to the Skies in Northern Colorado

By Kerry Koppes Poudre Fire Authority, (PFA) in Fort Collins, Colo., has begun testing of UAS-based hazardous materials hardware, designed to send gas and radiation detectors to places their typically ground-based equipment hasn’t gone before: the skies. The PFA UAS and Hazardous Materials teams recently purchased a Stinger Drone Mount from FLYMOTION US that is designed to lift 4-Gas and ... Read More »

Active Shooter Drone Flight Training and Video: Unexpected Outcome

The local police tactical unit and I recently conducted an active shooter drone flight exercise flying inside a big box store. These are large stores like Sam’s Club, Walmart, Best Buy, or even most major grocery stores. The DJI Matrice 210 is a larger Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and what we learned from the exercise is while the drone was ... Read More »

Drone Water Rescue Flight With a Matrice 210

Dispatch Call: Water Rescue What We Knew Headed to Call: It was reported a woman on a kayak had fallen out of the kayak and could not be seen. Aircraft: DJI Matrice 210 with Zenmuse XT FLIR and 180X Zenmuse Z30 cameras. UAS/Drone Actions: Upon arrival the most apparent optimum landing zone was not accessible due to previous fire department ... Read More »

Inexpensive Rescue Basket for DJI Matrice 200 and 210

DJI Matrice 210 Homemade Fire Department Rescue Basket.

Here at the Wake Forest Fire Department I finally gave up looking for a UAS rescue basket solution to deliver small items to victims in remote locations. There was no apparent solution available that met the wish list needs for our DJI Matrice 210 delivery solution. After looking high and low for a mechanism to deliver and drop items to ... Read More »

DJI FlightHub System Starts and Stops to Start Again

DJI recently announced their new FlightHub platform to allow drone management operations. This is a piece of software I’ve been looking forward to for a few months now. Go to http://www.dji.com/flighthub Everything has some growing pains. When I got my test login for FlightHub I only made it as far as the server. An email this morning says the platform ... Read More »