Latest Stories

Fire Department Drone Flight

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 »

Drone Structure Fire Flight Creates Surprises and Lessons Learned

I’m hoping this will become somewhat of an ongoing series of articles about lessons learned from actual public safety UAS flying with the amazing Wake Forest Fire Department. A structure fire call came in for a home that had already been burning for some time and was fully involved when we were dispatched. I was en route within minutes to ... Read More »

How I Setup My Tahoe for Fire Department Drone Flying

Sometimes people ask me about how I setup my Tahoe for my fire department UAS flying. I’ve dragged my feet long enough, so here is my setup. On the vehicle itself I have the requisite hidden red, yellow and white strobe lights for responding. But I also have a second battery in the vehicle to power all the accessories, lights, ... Read More »

How Does the Public Safety Drone Pilot Communicate With Other Pilots to Avoid Conflict?

As more Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones begin to fly in emergency service roles it is probably a good idea to have a discussion about the need for incident radio communications. Let’s put aside the issues surrounding UAS airspace conflict for a moment. If the public safety UAS pilot is flying at a newsworthy incident they will also have ... Read More »

Human Location Isotherm Settings Using DJI FLIR XT Camera on a Matrice 210

As the Wake Forest Fire Department UAS pilot, one of the issues I have to face is dealing with an unplanned event and flying the incident on short notice but provide optimum data gathering abilities and mission accomplishment. I wish my flights had the luxury of being on the schedule but when the call comes in, I have to go. ... Read More »

Colorado Public Safety Drone Team Leads the Way for Many

The Larimer County Unmanned Aircraft Systems (LCUAS) team out of Colorado took some time to answer a number of questions regarding their public safety drone operations. A big thank you to Kerry Koppes from the Poudre Fire Authority ion Fort Collins, Colorado for helping to educate all of us. Q: When did you launch your fire department UAS program and ... Read More »

A Look at Search and Rescue Drones in Action and Measured Results

In just a few years, civilian drone technology has revolutionized a wide range of pursuits – from adventure photography and filmmaking to agriculture, construction, science, infrastructure inspection and more. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) allow people to accomplish tasks faster, more efficiently, at a lower cost, and in many cases more safely than in the past. Yet the most consequential use ... Read More »

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 »

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 »