Latest Stories

Author Archives: Steve Rhode

A Public Safety Drone Pilots Airspace Nightmare

It seems like there is a never-ending series of issues to consider when you head out to fly your UAS or drone. You need to think about basic things like weather, battery health, and where you are going to fly. Drone pilots who have completed their FAA Part 107 certification will have heard the warnings about flying near airports and ... Read More »

Rescued – Alzheimer’s Person Drone Flight Debrief

Here is another flight debrief to assist others with lessons learned from this actual flight. Wake Forest Fire Department UAS Flight Debrief Flight Time: 75 Minutes Mission Goals: Assist in locating missing 79-year-old man with Alzheimer’s. Background: This is his second episode of the subject walking away from home. He was last seen at his residence at 10:30 PM on ... Read More »

Will Your Public Safety Drone be Shot Down – Maybe

The White House has proposed giving law enforcement and security agencies the authority to disable drones in the air. That could include taking over your drone in flight or dropping it from the sky. I completely understand there are valid issues that surround the uses of some civilian drones around places which may be sensitive. However, as a public safety ... Read More »

Wildland Fire Flight Debrief 2-22-2018

WFFD UAS Flight Debrief Date: 2-22-2018 Flight Time: 60 Minutes Lessons Learned: Chief Ed Barrett accompanied Chief Pilot Steve Rhode to Hoffman, NC for a controlled burn of 250 acres. The purpose of the exercise and training was to evaluate how the drone handled different parts of a wildfire. NC Wildlife Resource Commission teams began the fire along the backline ... Read More »

Flight Debrief – Failure and Lessons Learned From Structure Fire 4-3-2018

We all learn best from experience so here is another in my series of comprehensive flight debriefs. You can see all the past debriefs here. WFFD UAS Flight Debrief Date: 4-3–2018 Incident: #[ ] Location: [ ] Flight Time: 30 Minutes Mission Goals: Provide information to assist firefighting operations. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: A ... Read More »

Thermal Drone Video From SAR for Dementia Patient

Last night I had the opportunity to fly a search and rescue flight for an exercise where the scenario was a dementia patient had walked out of a residence and followed the terrain downhill till they became stuck. Once the victim was located the student searchers navigated their way, with directions from the pilot, to the warm body victim. They ... Read More »

Drone Flight Debrief – Missing Person – 3-31-2018

This is another flight debrief to help new pilots see what really happens on the front lines of public safety flying. This at least a representation of the self-critical look I take at my own performance after each flight to see what I can learn from the experience. WFFD UAS Flight Debrief Date: 3-31-2018 Incident: #[ ] Location: [ ] ... Read More »

Drone Flight Debrief – 3-27-2018 – Residential Structure Fire

Here is another in my ongoing sharing of flight debriefs to help other public safety pilots learn from my experiences. Date: 3-27-2018 Incident: #[] Location: [] Flight Time: 50 Minutes Mission Goals To monitor the scene and evaluate temperature conditions of the roof with fire located in the area above the ceiling. The video of the flight can be seen ... Read More »

Public Safety Drone FLIR Training and Tips – Color 1 Palette

Let me state from the start, I am not the purveyor of all knowledge when it comes to FLIR operations. There are still mysteries I’ve been unable to solve, like why Color 1 works, but here are some tips and observations that may be helpful. Color 1 Palette Vanishes – See this update. Dealing with FLIR camera operations in search ... Read More »

Fire Incident Drone Flyaway – Flight Debrief

In my continuing effort to share drone flights with lessons learned here is a recent incident where things unfolded very rapidly. Flight emergencies never happen at the best times. You always need to be prepared for an unexpected event. I just published Expecting Trouble is a Safe Way to Fly. Ironically I had written that post before the flyaway described ... Read More »