Latest Stories

Fire Department Drone Flight

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 »

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 »

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 »

Expecting Trouble is a Safe Way to Fly

As a public safety rescue pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department, I’m here to tell you there is no substitute for preparing for something unexpected to happen while you are in the air. Let me share some of my scares with you. Every day I fly a very expensive DJI Matrice 210 with thermal and zoom cameras on it. ... Read More »

Missing Girls Search Flight Debrief 2-15-2018

A big thank you to the Wake Forest Fire Department who I’m with for their willingness to allow me to share some of our flight debriefs for educational purposes. Incident: Missing Person 2-15-2018 Narrative: At 1823 I received a call from the Wake Forest Police Department for a request for service in conjunction with the Wake Sheriff’s Office. The call ... Read More »

Missing Search Successful With Drone Flight

Okay, a recent flight wasn’t to find a missing person but to find a pair of $750 drone batteries I had removed from the aircraft and laid in some tall grass on a very dark night. It’s official, you can use a $30,000 drone to locate $750 batteries. Thank goodness they were still hot from the last flight. Read More »

Put Together This Amplified Speaker to Fly on Your Drone and Communicate With People On the Ground

In an effort to create affordable solutions for emergency service pilots operating drones for fire and search and rescue groups, here is my latest budget loving Frankenstein solution. The dedicated equipment for this comes in at a grand total of $76, not including parts used for other things. The Wake Forest Fire Department coverage area has some large lakes in ... Read More »

How to Mount Lume Cubes on a Matrice 210 for Fire and Police Use

At the time this is posted there is not yet a perfect solution for providing illumination at night for an emergency scene or incident. Some light bars do exist but the weight and payload reduction makes them not practical for many emergency services UAS pilots. Lume Cube makes smal 1.5 inch cubes that can putput 1,500 lumens at the highest ... Read More »

DJI Matrice 210, Zenmuse Z30, Hotspot, and DJI Pilot Update 0.5.1

Today I updated the Pilot app to the latest version 0.5.1 and in combination with the latest Zenmuse Z30 firmware update of 1.00.00.47 my issues with drift with the Z30 camera when zoomed has gone away for the most part. The only other change I made was adding the external GPs antenna in anticipation of adding the upward gimbal. The ... Read More »