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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

4 Things Every Fire Department Drone Pilot Should Think About On the Way to the Call

As always, my approach to flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems or drone for the fire department may be different than yours. Additionally my frame of reference is modified because I am an aircraft pilot first so my approach is obviously slanted towards aircraft operations and flight in the National Air Space. I am not the holder of the universal truth on ... Read More »

Our Fire Department Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for UAS Drone Ops

I wanted to share our UAS Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) if it can help other departments who may be developing a similar document. Our approach at the Wake Forest Fire Department in Wake Forest, North Carolina is a bit different than other departments. We opted for the professional pilot approach as described in this article. Other departments may decide a ... Read More »

The Three Best Approaches to Finding Your Fire Department Drone Pilot

You would think getting a drone into service with a fire department would be a simple matter. But as with every other issue there can be more factors to consider when planning your department’s flight strategy and drone use. There are three primary options for deciding who is best to operate a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) or drone for your ... Read More »

Why Christmas Hurts Professional UAS Pilots

I’ve now had two friends call me up and tell me about their UAS gifts from the past holidays. I’m happy for them but concerned for those that want UAS flight to be accessible to more people. The rush to fly by those who are unaware of what the rules are is going to lead to more infractions and we ... Read More »

Why Flying a Drone as a Hobbyist is Currently a Mine Field for Public Safety Agencies

I’ve seen more and more news stories pop up where some police of fire department is quoted as they are flying their UAS as hobbyists and not FAA approved agency or pilot. This is a mine field. I understand the hobbyist exemption very well and it is not just a causal wide loophole for people who want to fly a ... Read More »

Is There Even a Role for Drones in the Fire Service?

There has been much talk about the use of and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), or drones as some people like to call them. This is all new technology and while there is a rush to accept this technology as beneficial the final results are not in yet for fire and rescue services. And the reason the final results are not ... Read More »

FAA Tips Its Hand on Drone Pilot Requirements

There has been so much uncertainty what the FAA will require to pilot a commercial operator of a UAS, UAV, or drone to operate the craft. Some say requiring a pilot license is completely unnecessary. Recently I wrote FAA Ground School and Pilot License Requirements for UAS Pilots and just today I received some FAA documentation on this issue. In ... Read More »

Why the DJI Phantom is the Best and Worst Public Safety Drone to Use

The DJI Phantom has become an ubiquitous UAS that many are jumping into. In fact I have three myself and hundreds of hours flying them. If you want to buy one, use this link so I get some credit for it. Here on the Public Safety Flight website I’ve already covered a number of stories where local departments have a ... Read More »

Let’s Look at Logbook Programs for UAS Pilots

If you are not a licensed pilot you might be unfamiliar with the importance of keeping a detailed record of all your flight experience. Maintaining a logbook of time, flights, and missions is going to be critical for UAS pilots in the future to document experience. As a FAA pilot the act of recording my flights is almost an autonomic ... Read More »

FAA Ground School and Pilot License Requirements for UAS Pilots

Authority for a public safety agency to utilize a Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is right now a complex affair. Not only do agencies require a difficult FAA authorization to fly a Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) under a FAA Certificate of Authorization the pilot qualifications are defined and have strict limitations. To fly professionally as a UAS pilot and not as ... Read More »