Ever wonder how drones can be used in a search and rescue effort?

Well before you grab your UAV and rush out the door, you’re going to want hear what today’s guest has to say. Jay Manley is the CEO and owner of Dakota Skyhook, a commercial drone service company in Fargo, North Dakota. Jay also has a long history of search and rescue participation, including actual mission “Finds”. He is a 18-year member of the Civil Air Patrol, with the rank of Lt. Col., has over 600 hours of flying and over 150 actual mission hours of flying. Besides the flying aspects, Jay is also a certified Incident Commander and actively helps train other members in search and rescue activities. He is a Life member of the AMA and has been operating his UAS business for almost a years. Jay is here to talk about Dakota Skyhook, his background in search and rescue and the challenges and opportunities of using drones for search and rescue.

In This Episode

  • [02:12] Introduction.  Jay Manley is the CEO and owner of Dakota Skyhook, a commercial drone service company in Fargo, North Dakota. He is also a 18-year member of the Civil Air Patrol with a long history of search and rescue participation, including actual mission “Finds”.
  • [02:31] Dakota Skyhook. Jay talks about how he started Dakota Skyhook after leaving Microsoft.
  • [04:34] Search and Rescue Experience. Jay has 18 year experience with the Civil Air Patrol and has logged several search and rescue missions.  Jay shares his background in search and rescue.
  • [06:46] Search and Rescue Process. Those involved in search and rescue operations follow a specific process. Jay describes the main components of the search and rescue operations and the roles of the various players. Drone operators should familiarize themselves with the process and the roles, so they’ll know how best to fit in.
  • [09:40] Challenges Of Integrating Drones In SAR. Jay shares insights into the challenges and opportunities of integrating drones into search and rescue operations. Drone operators need to be aware of the SAR process and how to integrate seamlessly into it.  At the same, many SAR officials do not understand how best to incorporate drones into a search and rescue operation.
  • [15:41] Demonstration and Training. There are some organizations that are incorporating drones into training exercises to demonstrate how they can be deployed.  In terms of training, Jay recommends that drone operators should spend a lot of time practicing search and identifying maneuvers in various conditions and terrains.
  • [19:00] Inexperience and Risks. Jay explains how inexperience can lead people to announce a missing person has been found by mistake. This can cause great harm to the families. He again cautions drone operators to seek out training, practice the requisite skills and understand established search and rescue procedures.
  • [24:56] Free Search & Rescue Class. Jay created a free search and rescue class to help individuals and organizations understand how drones can be used in search and rescue operations. Jay talks about the origin of the class and what people will learn by taking it.
  • [27:52] Future Use Of Drones In SAR. Jay sees drones being used to support SAR activities, depending on the mission.  Some missions may not lend themselves for drone use.  Jay thinks drones can be used to do pin-point searches investigating areas that have been identified by larger search planes.
  • [32:17] SAR Isn’t Convenient. Many people underestimate the commitment required for search and rescue operations.  People get lost at all hours of the day and in all types of weather.  SAR professionals must be ready to join the operations in all instances, many times, when its not convenient.
  • [32:37] Closing. Jay closes by saying that drones can provide real benefits by getting into places that traditional SAR efforts can’t with greater safety.  Drone use in SAR can be less expensive providing added value to local organizations.

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