Search and Rescue Patterns

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When using a drone for Search and rescue¬†there are many Operational and Logistical issues to take in to account. One of those being search patterns and one of those being height to fly for best detail with cameras that don’t have manual zoom.

When it comes to Search patterns the basic grid search is always the best. One because you can account for the area by labeling it on a map, and two almost every software has built in grid searches you can draw o ver an area.

As for height, I find that 50-100 feet depending on how much definition you need from the video, are you looking for articles of clothing? or a body? What type of terrain are you searching through? Prairie/Rye Grass, Cat Tails and Reeds, Thick Brush and small Trees? or Large Tree/Forest area? There are many “Tricks” to getting better pictures…… example being if you are searching a large field with long prairie grass, start up wind of the field and fly backwards with the camera facing the pilot but down at the ground at the best angle to see back into the grass. This will allow you to see “Through” the grasses and see items underneath it.

Search Speeds, really depend on the mission, if you are searching for a live, up walking talking person you can search a lot faster than looking for evidentiary items, downed persons, body’s or other items. I hope this helps, I am working on putting together a Search and Rescue Academy for Drone Pilots to better help the teams that are being set up.



Ben Mair

Owner- Code 3 Solutions


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