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Old 22-05-2014, 23:45   #46
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

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Originally Posted by Fog Bank View Post
Use of the MQ-9 as your platform of choice is a mistake IMO. A cruise speed of 200 knots combined with a range of just over 1100 miles is far from optimum. One must only look at the ongoing search in the Atlantic to see the range issue at hand.

'Superior optics' is something I feel must be expanded upon. Yes, the imaging systems found on the MQ-9 are impressive to a degree, but is nothing more than a limited soda straw field of view. Use of Gorgon Stare would greatly expand coverage area, but that leads to the problem of reviewing the tens of terabytes of data generated per sortie upon UAV recovery. That takes time and trained personnel.

The UAV optimized, somewhat, for the mission you have in mind is the MQ-4C Triton. This system is prohibitively expense, and not yet through its development test cycle. Perhaps this system might find its way into USCG use after years of USN service, but that is a large if.

One thing I feel should be pointed out about the text of your petition is that the S-3 has been retired. A handful are in test use, or in use by NASA.


These are just a few thoughts...
Wow, the flight specs for the MQ-4C are very impressive! I didn't see any info about the optics package, but I'm sure it's optimized for it's stated goal of broad area maritime surveillance.

According to Wikipedia,
Quote:
Gorgon Stare is being developed and tested on the MQ-9 Reaper at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. with the 53rd Wing. These sensors pods have been in development since 2009 by the Air Force’s Big Safari group and Sierra Nevada Corp.
I'm pretty sure I saw the S-3 was being used in the search for MH370 debris, but maybe those were assets sold off to allies, no longer in use in the US.
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Old 22-05-2014, 23:55   #47
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
Wow, the flight specs for the MQ-4C are very impressive! I didn't see any info about the optics package, but I'm sure it's optimized for it's stated goal of broad area maritime surveillance.

According to Wikipedia,

I'm pretty sure I saw the S-3 was being used in the search for MH370 debris, but maybe those were assets sold off to allies, no longer in use in the US.
The MQ-4C's most powerful sensors are not optical. That is the drawback of trying to repurpose certain military platforms.

The S-3 was only operated by the US. A proposal has floated around to sell a few airframes in storage to South Korea, but that hasn't gained traction. At this time the only S-3 airframes still flying are four with a Navy test squadron, and several with NASA. The rest are in storage.
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Old 22-05-2014, 23:57   #48
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

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How about if I promise to buy you ice cream?
Then President Obama would have you beat, in the area of promises.

Health care actually happened.

And isn't he the one you're petitioning?
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Old 23-05-2014, 04:12   #49
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

Ok, I signed the petition. Can I take you up on your offer of icecream-yummie. There is another petition I like, to put a military base on the moon to protect us from merging super powers.Today I can save the world and aid in search and rescue.
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Old 23-05-2014, 06:02   #50
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

My company is actually working on a miniaturized radar and collision avoidance unit for drones, while our drone is not on a par with the military drones it is a larger unit than the little quad drones and can withstand higher winds. One of the biggest draw backs of helicopter type drones is their flight time and speed. We do have a big enough payload to drop vitally needed supplies and communication equipment. What will be the big advantage is, before you commit human assets, you can send in the drone to determine if it is safe for people. We already have the hi def and flir optics, once our radar is proven, we hope to obtain FAA approval and certification. In time, we will have developed a fuel cell which will address the flight time limitations.
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Old 23-05-2014, 06:35   #51
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

The pilots on CF will be aware of why FAA has trouble writing rules for drones. Not long ago a Boeing built rotorcraft drone that was being tested at Pax River lost com and headed off in the general direction of northern Virginia. Control was not regained until a chase aircraft was able to establish line of sight communication.
The Navy version of the Global Hawk platform has the range and speed to reach remote search areas. It is however a very expensive platform that has not exceeded the capability of the venerable U2 so far.
Properly employed, the major advantage of drones for SAR is persistence. It is a valid concern that the sheer volume of video data and time and effort to review it adds complexity to the use of drones. Quite a number of government agencies are moving to employ ROVs. The effectiveness of these systems can only be evaluated over time.
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Old 23-05-2014, 07:29   #52
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

Our unit has a default setting to return to base if radio contact is lost, and a fail safe override, if the operator does not respond in a timely fashion the unit will take measures to avoid a collision on its own.
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Old 23-05-2014, 08:16   #53
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

The problem with most political solutions to technical problems is the old "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" axiom. Like mandating X fuel mileage or X % of your fleet will be electric by a certain date. If the OP's petition said "consider using" additional national assets for civilian SAR I would consider it more positively.

I personally think we tend to spend too much money searching for lost, missing people. And the effort is always driven by political considerations. The Navy had a fighter go into the water off Pensacola a few years (well, I'm getting old so it was probably many years ago ) and they didn't know what caused the accident. They knew exactly where it was (and it was in shallow water) but would not authorize the money to recover the airplane to figure out WHY. Just a few months later they spent multiples of the recovery cost looking for the young man from a wealthy, politically connected family from the N.E. who continued flight into IFR conditions without being qualified. In this case there was zero possibility that anything could be learned that would reduce the chances of a similar accident.
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Old 23-05-2014, 08:58   #54
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

You can go to either of these links to see what I am talking about. I am not trying to sell anyone, only provide germain information.

Advanced radar for drones arrives in Kenai | Peninsula Clarion
Kenai company leading the way on unmanned aircraft radar - Alaska Journal of Commerce - May Issue 4 2014 - Anchorage, AK
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Old 23-05-2014, 10:43   #55
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
The pilots on CF will be aware of why FAA has trouble writing rules for drones. Not long ago a Boeing built rotorcraft drone that was being tested at Pax River lost com and headed off in the general direction of northern Virginia. Control was not regained until a chase aircraft was able to establish line of sight communication.
The Navy version of the Global Hawk platform has the range and speed to reach remote search areas. It is however a very expensive platform that has not exceeded the capability of the venerable U2 so far.
Properly employed, the major advantage of drones for SAR is persistence. It is a valid concern that the sheer volume of video data and time and effort to review it adds complexity to the use of drones. Quite a number of government agencies are moving to employ ROVs. The effectiveness of these systems can only be evaluated over time.
If the video is digitized, software can be written (it may already exist) to do the search for contrasting colors or heat signatures much faster than people can visually scan the video.

AFAIK, the current method is for a C-130 or P3 to cruise around slowly while a couple of crew members look out the windows through binoculars. Considering our current state of technology, that's a very antiquated, expensive way of doing it. Lately, the gov't seems to be cutting searches short, claiming little chance of survival, but I think it's based more on the cost of operating the aircraft. They could easily cover more area at a much lower cost with the use of drones in the mix, especially with specialized equipment. I think when there are lives at stake, it's worth it to try to get there faster, use better tools and search day and night.
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Old 23-05-2014, 11:40   #56
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Re: PLEASE sign the petition to use Drones for SAR, it may save your life!

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"
IMO, this is a nonsensical debate. I do understand that drones present a danger in restricted air spaces but they I find it difficult to believe they are more dangerous than the millions upon millions of birds that fly at the same altitudes.

Drone Team That Finds Missing People and Dead Bodies Would Like To Keep Doing That - Forbes
WAY MORE DANGEROUS! I've flown through a flock of black birds that was so thick it sounded like someone was shooting us with a machine gun. Uneventful landing. Then after inspection did a maintenance ferry to have an engine changed. Went through a flock of sea gulls and killed at least seven of them with no damage to the airplane. Took an owl through the number 1 engine on a B727 on take off. The engine kept running and making power until we were at pattern altitude where we secured it and landed uneventfully. Several other bird strikes with no damage. The drones that have enough capability to be effective for off shore searches weigh many times as much as the biggest bird. And they have heavy metal parts, not just meat and bones. I wouldn't want to hit a goose with my windshield at a closing rate of 300+ mph. But, I would rather that then an engine (I don't know how much the drones engines weight that carry the high res. gear. Maybe 200 to 400 pounds?) at the same rate of closure.[/QUOTE]


I was not speaking of flying into a reaper. I was speaking of small model airplanes and quadracopters that fly only 200 feet, etc.

The chances of running your plane into one if those is pretty small. Considering the large number of them that have been flown by model airplane enthusiasts for the last 50 years I think the safety data is in.
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