We are faced with a lot of changes within the drone search and rescue community, that need to be addressed. One area of concern is we have different kinds of volunteers, and we need to be able to identify who is serious about actually helping people and those that just want to be “Card Carrying” members. Unfortunately, we have too many times when we are not able to find help for families, even when we have quite a number of pilots in the area of need. There are a few ideas we have for improving this, and we welcome any and all feedback on these issues. We understand this is a volunteer organization, and many just have other commitments, but we need to have pilots signed up that at least respond with a “not available”. We live in an age of instant communications, and it is very rare that you should not be able to respond. We take our mission of finding help for families very seriously and are just looking for ways to provide it.
Here are some of the changes we intend on implementing.
Pilot volunteers will be required to provide all the necessary details in their profiles, be expected to keep it current, and we would like to figure out a system of tracking things like responsiveness to mission requests, level of competence in using drones in search and rescue scenarios and maybe even some sort of levels or badges that members can attain. I encourage all pilots to check and update your records to provide the required information to be “Approved” Too many of our pilots have not completed there records and for those of you that forgot how to update your records, simply go to the signup page – click on the link labeled “Forget your private link? Click here to have it emailed to you” and be sure to update your record with all the required information.
Training modules produced by SWARM, or training from a trusted source, that pilots can show experience at certain SAR scenarios and/or equipment capabilities. We hope that our more experienced pilots will help with creating this content or at the very least providing their own tips and information they have found that could help other pilots that have not flown a mission yet. I expect in the near future that some missions that come up will require the ability to show a level of competency to be able to participate, especially on missions involving other organizations. We will most likely post the subject matter for a training topic, and then request feedback from our experienced members on that topic. In this way, we hope to provide training that will include real-world experience and lessons learned.
These new systems in no way will affect anyone who is currently a volunteer at any level with SWARM. Just having folks share the missions when appropriate is very valuable, and you don’t need to be a pilot to spread the word!
Please reference this page for the list of topics for the training videos. It will change of course.
More to come on this…
Thermal imaging is becoming a necessary tool for search and rescue missions. This webinar put on by Drone Nerds and Parrot Anafi will not only give you a good introduction to thermal imaging, but may also help you determine if you should buy this particular drone, or should you buy the closest competitor to it like the DJI Dual.
So you want to be a Search and Rescue Drone Pilot?
Well, things are a-changing. No more will it be good enough to just sign up because you got a new drone for a gift. It’s admirable that you want to volunteer these services, but the reality is that things are changing and it is going to be expected, and even required in some cases, that our drone pilots have a certain level of knowledge, and sometimes equipment capabilities. While there are no formal requirements laid down yet, we want to start creating content on our YouTube Channel, to help our pilots and other volunteers, to gain that knowledge. I have started this list of some ideas for things I think you will need to know, to be able to perform a successful mission. This list will grow and be revised and I hope and expect our experienced pilots who have flown missions to share their ideas and knowledge. One more thing. We will also be developing this with specific needs for doing animal searches with input from experts in those fields.
Please comment and share your ideas to help us build this list.
- Looking up information on Google or other mapping tools for a mission.
- What equipment should you have?
- Do I need a part 107 or a similar license for my region?
- How to decide how high to fly a mission for the particular terrain.
- How to find and coordinate locations to the ground crew or incident.
- Should you shoot video and/or still images?
- Processing imaging with software for object identification.
- How to fly a grid and other coverage issues, then how and where to share those.
- How to flight plan for a mission.
- How to share video and/or stills. This will include live streaming options.
- Special sections on thermal imaging drones.
- Communications and how to request a waiver if needed.
- What about night operations?
- What are the best apps for flying a search and rescue drone mission?
- Animal-related training videos.
What is the best thermal drone for search and rescue work?
This question was posed by one of our members and I am pretty sure how I will respond, but before I do, I would like to get some of our pilots to give their opinions, especially if they have been able to use equipment I have not been able to.
So, what is everyone’s opinion on this? $5000 Budget and a “THERMAL DRONE”
It’s time for some changes.
We have the oldest, and largest drone search and rescue group, in the world, and yet there are way too many search requests going out with no responses at all! Unfortunately, this indicates a level of commitment, that obviously is not what it needs to be by many pilots that sign up. I understand this is a volunteer organization, and as such, people may not be able to respond when needed, but we have done tests and found that there is a staggering lack of response, on even the simplest requests on our new website and systems.
Because of this, and because more security is required, we are going to start a “badge” or “levels” system to identify pilots with certain equipment, skills, and levels of training. The systems for doing this are being worked out and let this serve as a heads up for you that this will be coming soon.
One of the biggest blockers to us for accomplishing our goals is funding. To that end, we are also working on getting non-profit status, so we can officially start fundraising, and offer tax write-offs and apply for grants.
There are other huge benefits for all of us, that many may not realize. Besides being recognized as a professional organization, that can be counted on for help, as a large group, we can get access to many more resources and even get group discounts on many products and services!
We have over 10,000 members, pilots, and volunteers that have signed up through our various resources, and in addition to that, we communicate to many other SAR groups when trying to find help for families, and still, there is a serious shortage of resources, and we would like to figure out ways of improving this.
Please help us with our goal of trying to find help for families by spreading the word, and for those of you that have signed up as pilots, take your role more seriously, and prepare for the changes coming.
We need dedicated individuals, that have the time and proper experience, to help create content on YouTube for upcoming training videos and other areas. This will be one of the most important tasks we need to put in place to make sure our pilots are properly trained to do missions and will be able to show they have received this training.
Other positions we need to fill. More information will be added with details of each position.
Admins for Requests on Sites
Social Media and Content Creation
Member Classified Advertising Management
Please, only respond if you have the time to do this. Send us an email at [email protected] if you can help.