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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

The Coming Public Safety Drone Pilot Danger of Wilting on the Vine

It’s one thing to want to get into flying UAS or drones for public safety missions. Getting the proper training, passing the right tests, and doing a bit of flying is the easy part. What is going to become more of an issue are people of fire departments and police departments who have passed a test and flown a bit ... 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 »

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 »