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UAS and Search & Rescue

Discussion in 'Public Safety' started by BigAl07, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. sar104

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    I should have been clearer - private UAS operations are going to require Part 107 RPC, registration with DPS, and insurance. We don't require the ICS course modules for any SAR volunteers except Field Coordinators (Incident Commanders) - those are optional, although encouraged.
     
  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Sounds reasonable.

    Part of our problem here is the topography. We have to be able to hike into the woods many times to get close to the area of interest. We don't have flat land and the terrain is brutal and deadly. 99.99% of the time our private operators show up very unprepared for any back woods type of ventures. Often times in tennis shoes, shorts, and 2 or 3 batteries. We require self sustaining for min 2 hours of flying, min of 12 hrs of provisions, first aide pack, and foul weather gear.
     
  3. sar104

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    The issue of preparedness is ubiquitous in SAR, especially in challenging locations. I've been envisaging initially using UAVs in more accessible areas - at least in terms of launch location - but with steep slopes or cliffs that are hard to search from the ground.

    Almost all of our really remote areas are wilderness between 8000 and 14000 ft in elevation, and the status of SAR UAS operations there is undecided at present. Technically we are not supposed to put a helicopter down, or even do a winch extraction, but we do it anyway, since the aircraft are generally State Police or National Guard, and just apologize afterwards. For ground teams we require 24 hour / overnight capability for assignments into those locations.

    I've had exactly the same issue that you have seen with non-SAR recreational pilots though. Last year we had a couple of enthusiastic volunteers from Texas hike 1000 ft down into one of the Rio Grande gorges to participate in an extended (unofficial) search for a subject who had been missing for several months. They then discovered that hiking 1000 ft back up, at 6000 ft elevation, was more difficult. In fact impossible, for them. I ended up sending a helicopter in to evacuate them. Expensive adventure.
     
  4. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    That's EXACTLY what we are trying to avoid. I think it's GREAT and ADMIRABLE that so many want to help but if we end up having to provide support to get them out we've not done anyone any justice and possibly delayed the rescue of others who might be in dire need. It's our obligation to make sure that everyone going into the woods is prepared at least to the MIN standards if not more. If we allow someone to go into the woods without being prepared (equipment and training) then we aren't doing our job.
     
    sar104 likes this.
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