The use of UAS for SAR Missions is growing rapidly. With that in mind, the technology has outrun the training and certification process, forcing the SAR community to catch up.
NASAR is working on several initiatives and projects to encourage and enhance the use of UAS during SAR missions. Here is an update on those activities:
Recently, NASAR Advocacy Director David Kovar authored NASAR's position paper on UAS use (read it here). This paper was reviewed by NSARC and several SAR subject matter experts prior to being published.
NASAR is working with Jason Kamdar from Kaizen Kinetics to develop a proposal for a "First Responder Emergency Certificate of Authorization (FRECOA)" and application to present to the FAA. This proposed solution will provide agencies working with qualified UAV operators an option to quickly deploy qualifying UAS assets. This is an exciting part of our advocacy position shepherded by David Kovar, and we believe it will be one of the most powerful tools we can develop at this point to assist in the deployment of UAS systems in support of SAR.
NASAR is currently providing edits and source material to the Unmanned Aircraft systems Search And Rescue Addendum to the National Search and Rescue Supplement to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual. This document is produced by the eight federal agencies in the National Search and Rescue Committee (NSARC). We had been working on this project since May of 2016, and the next NSARC editorial committee meeting is January 13, 2016.
NASAR is encouraging ASTM to begin development of standards to type UAS systems and to determine standards for capabilities and deployment of UAS systems in support of SAR missions.
There is currently some confusion among the various UAS operators regarding the FAA Section 333 commercial requirements and the use of a "hobby" UAS for SAR. NASAR is working with the FAA and NSARC to clarify this point.
Finally, NASAR is monitoring and working with various UAS communities and advocacy groups to encourage the integration of UAS systems with local SAR teams.