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Public Safety Drone Flight

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »