The easy part of being a drone pilot, is piloting a drone!
The hard part of being a Search And Rescue drone pilot, is operating the camera and thermal sensor, to enable us to find our MISPER, day or night. So Saturday night was a case of get the drone in the hover and then spend the rest of the time, in the dark, discovering how to optimise the thermal sensors to enable us to spot a moving heat source from 70m above the ground…and you know what…we did! Knowing how to manage the colour palette, polarity and manually adjust the temperature range for our specific target is a must-have skill set and the only time to train for that is in the dark.
While the drone pilot is working hard to optimise the picture and find our moving target, the Observer is keeping their eye on the drone, talking to the pilot to ensure they can see the drone at all times.
All the SuLSAR drone pilots have their own drones and SuLSAR also have 2 drones. The 9 man drone team have a total of 13 drones spread between them; Phantom, Mavic Pro, Zoom, Enterprise Dual, Typhoon H and a Swell Pro 3+ waterproof drone.
We can fit spotlights or a speaker to our Enterprise Dual drones so when we do find something of interest, we can flood the area with light or speak to people on the ground through the onboard speaker.
The Swell Pro 3+ is able to lift a 1.5kg payload, a radio or first aid kit for example, which can then be dropped to a team member on the ground.
The technology is amazing and our skill set continues to grow.