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Steve Rhode

The Public Safety Flight website is dedicated to news, honest information, tips, and stories about the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAVs, aircraft, and drones in the fire service and other public safety niches.The site was founded by Steve Rhode, an FAA-certificated airplane commercial and instrument certificated pilot and a very experienced Part 107 UAS commercial pilot. Steve is the Chief Pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department and the North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy. He also provides expert advice to drone pilots through Homeland Security Information Network and he is an FAA Safety Team drone expert. Steve loves to work closely with public safety pilots to answer questions and share information, real-world truth, and drone operation advice. You can contact Steve here, learn more about Steve here, or join his public safety pilot private email list here.

You Better Get Used to Airworthiness Requirements

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the NTSB made a statement that has confirmed my position that Airworthiness Certification will play a bigger role moving forward in drone operations. The NTSB said, “The NTSB believes that an updated definition is necessary given the changing UAS industry. Pursuant to section 44807 of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 …

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FTC Pass Policy to Make it Easier to Repair Drones

The Federal Trade Commission today unanimously voted to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions that prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and even government entities from fixing their own products. The policy statement adopted today is aimed at manufacturers’ practices that make it extremely difficult for purchasers to repair their products or shop around for other service providers to do it for …

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Don’t Blindly Fall for Made in USA Drone Marketing Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission finalized a new rule that will crack down on marketers who make false, unqualified claims that their products are Made in the USA. Under the rule, marketers making unqualified Made in USA claims on labels should be able to prove that their products are “all or virtually all” made in the United States. This will impact …

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What is Important?

Sometimes, like today, I honestly feel like my drone flying duties are like juggling six flaming bowling balls and trying not to injure anyone. It can all become overwhelming balancing mission requests, the federal aviation regulations, and supervisors’ expectations. As a public safety flight educator, I recognize a giant difference between always flying within the rules or getting the mission …

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Is Your Parrot Anafi Part of the Bad Batch?

Parrot Anafi Failure and Crash

One of the issues with drone companies considering themselves tech companies and not aircraft manufacturers and making sure their drones have an Airworthiness Certification is the lack of notification when things go wrong. An accident in the UK had a very interesting statement in it by the investigation board. In this accident, the drone came falling out of the sky. …

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Does Flying by the FAA Rules Even Matter?

I’ve been very frustrated lately by the promotion of non-compliant flights of drones that result in a perceived “success” story. If the FAA wanted to seriously go after pilots engaged in flight outside the regulations, the DJI Rescue Map would be a great place to start. I’m going to use this latest rescue on that map as an example. I …

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Podcast – FDNY Fred Carlson Talks Drones and Lessons Learned

FDNY lieutenant Fred Carlson started as a fireman on Queens Ladder 151 in November 2006 and has risen through the ranks since then. Promoted to lieutenant at the end of 2019 he now serves as in leadership of the FDNY Command Tactical Unit (the drone program). Fred comes from a family aviation background. His mother and brother both hold Part …

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Drones That Can See Around Trees With Thermal – Code Available

I previously interviewed Oliver Bimber regarding his work with Airborne Optical Sectioning. This software solution allows drones to fly autonomously and using AI it can piece together glimpses of thermal responses and then identify those that are humans below tree canopies. It is a revolutionary piece of software and when drones that are authorized to fly long and further become …

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You Got Fluxed Again

The public safety drone space, and maybe the entire drone niche, is in a state of flux. An important issue I’ve run into recently is working with departments and pilots to overcome assumptions. When presented with a different perspective, the typical response is that it can’t be right. But what I’m finding is a combination of new aviators that might …

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Oak Island Water Rescue Helps Save Kayaker

This post was submitted by the great people at Oak Island Water Rescue. We were dispatched, along with Oak Island Fire Department, to locate and assist a kayaker that had gone missing near Sheep Island. He had been boating with a friend who lost contact with him and called 911 when he could not find him after several minutes of …

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