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You Just Missed a Great Class on Multiagency Flight

You Just Missed a Great Class on Multiagency Flight

I just finished conducting a free two-day class on multiagency flight training. Students came from different public safety agencies and everyone was into learning and very dedicated to learning.

This was a classroom and hands-on flying class.

We had some special guests which helped to relate some personal experiences regarding their own hurdles they’ve faced when dealing with multiple public safety agencies in a specific incident.

My experience is each department or agency has their own way of doing things. Police and fire departments don’t always see incidents with the same vision.

As a public safety UAS pilot in mutual aid calls I fly, I run into a wide range of expectations and assistance from other departments.

These issues often result in poor mission results. This class through the NC Public Safety Drone Academy was designed to help public safety pilots walk into chaotic situations and bring with them some basic skills on how they can make results better based on what they can control.

The class was also taught with Chief Barrett, a Wake Forest Fire Department Battalion Chief and Incident Command System guru. Chief Barrett help to educate students in the classroom about an incident organization and why defining roles is critical to better outcomes. I have the pleasure of regularly flying with Chief Barrett. I’m a lucky guy.

We covered the roles and responsibilities of the pilot, assistant pilot, operations commander, incident commander, and ground search teams.

Students learned the aircraft we fly are not magic wands. The best results are experienced as a team of both ground-based and air-based assets when it comes to search-and-rescue.

In this class, that’s what we focused on, search-and-rescue.

After a rainy day in the classroom, we went out the next day to a private practice area and flew sample missions. We had a missing person practice area, and two more for missing hunters and missing diabetic.

Students broke down into teams of an operations commander, pilot, assistant pilot, and ground teams.

The teams learned and practiced skills to communicate with each other on multi-pilot scene and how to keep their own teams focused.

Some of the key skills students learned were prioritizing distractions, working together, a common search strategy, utilizing ground teams, and most importantly, decision making.

We started easy but by the last scenario the teams were tired, stressed, and overloaded with good and bad information. Chief Barrett and I pushed them hard and put them in corners to have to say no to flight requests.

As an instructor, it was a real pleasure to watch the students come together and listen to what they learned in our post-flight debriefs.

What made the students extra special was the combination of emergency management, ground search teams, fire departments, law enforcement, and even our air traffic control student. It was a real mix of backgrounds and skills.

Student feedback was excellent. One student said, “You did a great job on your delivery of classroom instruction as well as the Chief. The class was great, it required you to engage. Mixing the crews was also a good idea. The class was very real-world with stuff that just happens from technology to the simple issue.”

“It was a truly an exceptional class! Crisscrossing the country, I’ve paid for classes that did not come within a fraction of what I experienced over this past weekend!! The curriculum you put together is what the industry needs! I gained additional flight ops experience and learned even more operational experience. I would like to learn more and become more involved.

In my opinion, I can truthfully say, your training (North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy), Airborne Response and TEEX are the professional training leaders for disaster preparedness/ emergency management integration of UAV/ sUAS assets.

Please keep me abreast of ANY classes, seminars or workshops that develop even if there’s a fee! Yes, I will pay to access your knowledge!”

Here are some pictures from our class.

Would You Like to Attend a Future Free Class?

If you are a public safety member and you would like to attend one of our free classes here in North Carolina, please contact me using the form below.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve is an experienced and certificated UAS pilot and aircraft instrument-rated pilot. He is also the Chief Pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department and North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy. He is also a member of the FAA Safety Team.
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