DEEMI presently has three unmanned aerial platforms it uses in its operations. We have the VK-Ranger EX-SAR fixed-wing aircraft, the DJI Inspire 1 UAV and the Viking VK-FF-X4 multi-rotor copter. The fixed wing unit it currently in repairs and pilots are in training. As such, the Inspire 1, a very stable platform has been used in all missions of late. The Inspire 1 is used by hundreds of first responder and law enforcement agencies across the country.
We have a number of cameras and payloads that can be used or deployed on this remarkable drone, including the standard DJI X3, DJI Z3, and the FLIR XT 640 (13mm) cameras. Using a drop mechanism, we are able to drop life vests, clothing, medicine, water, communication tools, etc. to a found victim or person in peril and need. We recently added a high lumen, tactical light to illuminate search areas from the air in remote areas. Finally, we have an underwater sonar device that can be dragged by the Inspire 1 to monitor the bottom of lake or stream if searching underwater.
While searching for a missing person, we often use either a grid type search pattern or an active real-time viewing search method. With either method, we record numerous, overlapping high-resolution images that are viewed for content and analyzed for anomalies and objects of interest by an on-site image specialist and remote, trained analysts after uploading to a central server.
DEEMI was the first Search and Rescue agency in the country to receive an FAA Part 333 certificate authorizing them to fly a UAV, or drone, for SAR operations. We now operate under Part 107 and have FAA waiver and authorization to fly at night.
DEEMI sUAS in the news .....
Here's a good video from WABI-TV, Channel 5, Bangor, which focuses on DEEMI Search & Rescue and its use of drones for looking for lost persons and assisting with a water rescue by dropping a life vest to a stranded victim. (click on the thumbnail or here)
AVIATION FOR WOMEN
In another international magazine, our second-in-command UAV pilot Nancy Rimm Staples, was highlighted in an article titled THE POWER OF DRONES, INSPIRATION FROM A MAINE UAS PILOT. (to read the article, click on the thumbnail above or here)
INSIDE UNMANNED SYSTEMS
DEEMI was recently highlighted in a special UAS SEARCH & RESCUE article titled HELP FROM ABOVE, in this national magazine dedicated to UAS. Article content was provided by Director Richard Bowie and Chief UAV pilot Vinal Applebee. (to read the article, click on the thumbnail above or here)
DEEMI and second-in-command Nancy Rimm Staples were highlighted in an article titled SEARCH AND RESCUE DRONES TAKE FLIGHT, in this regional magazine. (to read the article, click on the thumbnail above or here)
The thermal imaging camera we use is the DJI Zenmuse XT. This unit is the higher resolution camera, 640 x 512 pixels with a 13mm lens. With a thermal camera, we are not restricted to visual light. A thermal camera will sense heat signatures in daylight or darkness. It will often 'penetrate' through tree canopy layers more readily than a visual camera can.
We post analyze the images using specialty software to optimize the objects of interest and eliminate the non-essential features.
In the photo on the left here, can you make out our volunteer Dakota Sudbeck's silhouette standing in the woods?