Just over a year ago, a dog went missing on the hills of Being Sgulaird (see attached video) and I gave a hand to head out and search for her. I used my tools and local knowledge to provide aerial search patterns and try to locate the missing dog; it did not end the way everyone involved had hoped.
Since then, I have been inundated with emails, private messages and texts with details of missing people and dogs, who have headed out in to remote parts of Scotland and for whatever reason have failed to return or have returned but not at the time they were expected. I have been very humbled by it all and have lent support when I could and have provided an eye in the sky in areas I have managed to get to. Sometime the emergency services are overwhelmed by these incidents and more often than not, locals, owners and many others hit the ground to go look, using the powerful tool that is social media to orchestrate events. Many pages and communities exist to spread the word, info and expertise, even if the search area is hundreds of miles away; being furnished with the right information can make or break a search.
I want to do more and while I have equipment for the task, it is also the equipment that I use in my everyday work. Should anything go wrong with it, I leave myself in a perilous dilemma as I am freelance. So when I use any aerial or UAV equipment, it is the same vehicle I use for work. I propose to obtain additional equipment that can be used for search and rescue primarily and should the worst happen, I don't leave myself without an income. In addition I would like to help train those who would be willing to learn drone and UAV operations and in my absence, could continue the search. As a commercial pilot and documented PfCo licence holder, I can help prepare and run aerial search missions using the vehicle, camera and thermal imaging but pass on the knowledge too.
I live in a part of Scotland that is very popular with walkers, outdoor folks, dog owners etc and sometimes through no fault of their own can run in to difficulty. It would make a difference to know that there is a team of people around who could spring in to action and help or assist in any way that we can. There are many drone operators but none who would be experienced enough to fly in these types of circumstances, but with the right equipment and the right knowledge, could easily provide an element that could end the search early or at least contribute to the search effort.
All the money raised will go towards aerial equipment and I will tiles my own expertise as a drone pilot and army veteran, to aid the emergency services (should they require it), the public at large if they require assistance and to help train and inform volunteers who would like to learn more about this the of search and rescue, drone flying, the law, principles of UAV's and their use within a search and rescue incident.