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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

Why Flying a UAS Under a COA as Public Aircraft Operations May Be the Wrong Choice for Most Agencies and Pilots

This is a tough article for me to write because I know off the bat many people are going to discount what I’m about to share. It’s not because it is wrong but because it flies in the face of assumptions and changing beliefs is difficult. Plus talking at length about UAS, COA, and public aircraft operations may make your ... Read More »

Professionalism in Public Safety UAS Drone Flying

I received a communication from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to all members that brings up some points which are perfect for the wave of public safety UAS pilots. You see it is all about being professional pilots and professionalism in flying. I think the points it raises are excellent for new public safety drone pilots. This is what the ... Read More »

The Short Changing of Public Safety Drone Pilots and How You Got Screwed Over

I’ve had the pleasure of running into so many good and amazing people in the public safety UAS world. People who are passionate about the public safety work they do. It is truly a blessing to be part of this community even though I came in through the side entrance. Growing up I thought I wanted to be a law ... Read More »

DJI Pilot App Update 0.6.0 Says Goodbye to Color 1 Palette

The latest update of the DJI Pilot App has made an important chance to those using the DJI XT Thermal camera. I’ve written before about thermal Color 1 palette for making targets jump out. In this latest software release, two important thermal updates are present. Isotherm Presets You no longer need to set temperature ranges for person search of fire ... Read More »

Controlled Airspace Real Time Authorizations Start to Go Live for Drone Pilots

The FAA launched its much-anticipated Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. The program, currently in beta, includes 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 500 airports. May 24th: Western North June 21st: Western South July 19th: Eastern South August 16th: Eastern North September 13th: Central North The first wave of airports online are: April 30: South Central USA – ... Read More »

What It Is Really Like to Be a Public Safety Pilot

If I had to sum up my life as a public safety drone pilot, I’d have to call it “sporty.” It’s the term aviators have used for many years to describe flying adventures that test their skills. Unlike flying for fun, if you are a police or fire department drone pilot, you are often operating with an audience under challenging ... Read More »

PrecisionHawk Launches Platform to Fly Drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight

Today, PrecisionHawk announced the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)-enabled drone platform. It includes the latest in aircraft detection technology, delivering to the drone operator the situational awareness necessary to deconflict airspace and avoid a potential confrontation. Key to this capability is cutting-edge acoustic detection technology, which can identify aircraft within a 10 km radius. The BVLOS-enabled drone platform ... Read More »

Outside Fire Calling in the Foam – Flight Debrief

Wake Forest Fire Department UAS Flight Debrief Flight Time: 20 Minutes Mission Goals: Provide information to assist firefighting operations. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: A safe landing zone (LZ) was established in front of the location on the quiet street. Thermal information was obtained and given to BC on request. The thermal camera identified primary ... Read More »

Outside Fire Mission Failure and Success – Flight Debrief

Wake Forest Fire Department UAS Flight Debrief Date: 4-6–2018 Flight Time: 20 Minutes Mission Goals: Provide information to assist firefighting operations and evaluate the thermal activity of outside fire. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: Communicated with News Chopper 11 over the incident and coordinated block operating altitudes to deconflict airspace. Established safe LZ. What Could ... Read More »

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 »