800px-Flag_of_Europe.svg.png?width=300I have recently been quite active regarding the use of Micro UAVs in Search and Rescue here in Finland and I also have been in contact with the EU Commission on this matter.

Here in Finland - as in many European countries - Search and Rescue missions are carried out under the authority of the police but mainly by volunteer organizations, such as the Red Cross, The National Association for Volunteer Rescue Services (VaPePa), Rescue Dog organizations and the Finnish Lifeboat Institution. Recently, inside some of the involved NGOs, the usage of Micro UAVs has been subject of discussion and evaluation, based on the obvious advantages.

While the current EU regulatory drafts contain reasonable exemptions for hobby/recreational use, as of now, NGOs will be classified as professional users. That would mean:

  1. UAS will have to be certified, just like a fullsize aircraft
  2. The NGO will need an operator's license, just like an airline
  3. The pilots will have to have some kind of pilot's license

This directly translates into the following problems:

  1. Only commercially produced UAS can be used. Commercial UAS are already now very expensive. Once they need to be certified, they will become even more expensive due to increased requirements for the manufacturers and the simple fact that the manufacturers can determine the prices by phantasy as there is no cheaper competition any more.
  2. Certified UAS will likely also need to be maintained similar to fullsize aviation standards, means mandatory maintenance by authorized facilities - again very expensive.
  3. Getting an operator's license will produce more costs and includes the need for determining personnel which holds the responsibility. A very tedious, if not impossible, task for an organization based on volunteers.
  4. Finding volunteers which are willing to spend the time and the money to acquire a pilot's license will be hard. Of course, the NGO could offer to pay the bill but what if the member stops volunteering? People move for new jobs and might stop working as a volunteer because the have less time. Maybe they expect children or start building a house. Also, for volunteer-based work, you always need a broad base of qualified people. The volunteer might be on vacation or on a business trip or in an important project where the employer does not permit the volunteer to respond to an alarm.

These regulatory drafts which classify volunteer-based NGOs as professional users will very likely effectively kill the usage of Micro UAVs by volunteer rescue organizations in Europe.

I already started some work on this matter, but of course, one man alone can hardly move anything.

Therefore, I call on everybody in Europe who

  • Is involved in any type of voluntary rescue organization or other volunteer-based NGO
  • Or is involved in any way in R/C-, FPV- or hobby UAV activities
  • Or simply is a concerned citizen who does not want to see the application of this exiting new technology for saving lives killed by ignorant rulemakers

Get active!

  • Bring those topics up in your local organizations!
  • Push your local organization heads to bring the topic to the national organizations!
  • If you are in the board of a local or national volunteer rescue organization, contact the boards in your neighboring countries!

We urgently need an international European alliance of volunteer rescue organizations and other NGOs to make ourself heard in the regulatory bodies and try to make sure that the same exempts are included for voluntary rescue work as for recreational/hobby use!

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  • my grand father ever told me ... if you want something, make it happen

  • As i was flying my drones / planes , even cars , i ever felt i could do something with that, like people doing help and rescue, but like said in the topic as well as the answer , we cannot move, one by one, actually if you are just a man alone your strengh is like none. each country have a kind of federation drived by government , telling where to do and what to do, specially what to not do ... using an uav here in france for help anybody or anything will be almost impossible. the only solution is to bring up an european group, really clear and easy to understand, and trying to overcome the local's , one representative elected that will speak for everyone, and have activity out of the hobby, help , rescue by example, and not just drone, we can do a lot of things with out littles machines, and i think it is time to gather all our wisdom , knowledge, to create  a new goal , we enjoy flying, we enjoy driving at high speed , now imagine you watch for a lost children while flying in fpv , imagine your buggy can drag food or supply to people under a felt building. actually i m suffering a hard time , i want to present a fire analyzer , mean an UAV able to enter in fire  , with a lot of sensors , able to tell fire guard about the building , possible humanoid inside etc.. so far my 2 highly cost test have ...burned down.

    I can perhaps appear to be bossy or whatsever , i "play" with my toys like says people since 10 year around, nitro gas electric , everything is good to me. What's i'll want now , is to be seen at something else than a guy that can possible kill lots of people because i will fly like i want.

    so what i'll says that we start an Non profit Organisation with those missions : 

    Gather in one point as most as possible RC people

    Gathering all the knowledge and sharing idea about new concept

    Training people to meet the requirement needed for help authority when its needed

    talking with one voice the one of our president that will know we are in his back

    we are all over the world, we can act fast , how many time until one uav drone / car / can or run like said before in Katrina , we could have help, those disasters will happen again , i m not sure if i ll says it well but the bad came when the person of good do nothing.

    Anyway after the guy in New york that made his drone fall ahead of a business man we are screwed until we represent an organisation that can publicly says " this guy was a moron"

    sorry for the bad word

    what do you think about it ? 

    and do not flame me , i m pretty sure if we get together we can do something great.

  • Your suggestion to get active is the best course of action. Residents of Eu countries, one of your brethren is asking you to help - support him!
  • @Helistorm,

    These people provided a legitimate service in a time of emergency, they actually sought to get permission form FEMA and were turned down point blank.


    FEMA did a disservice to these people by doing so, in emergencies it is necessary to adapt on the fly.

    These were not bumbling amateurs, they were a legitimate asset rejected out of hand by an organization well known for its heavy handed tactics often not to the benefit of the people they are supposed to be taking care of.

    It is precisely as I said, authority and chain of command was more important to them than providing the best possible relief.

    I am all for integrating this capability into the institutional hierarchy, it is precisely their complete reluctance to do so that has produced this situation in the first place.

  • Roger that Stefan. Good advice. ;)
  • @Helistorm:

    Please read the blog post again :). Especially the part below the red text :).

  • And to decline all people NOT in the system on the spot.
  • Having been involved in several response efforts, I can say there are people who want to help, but really have nothing to offer. They become dead weight. There are people who want to help, and have something to offer. And, there are people who want to take advantage. Trying to vet out those people WHILE the disaster is going on is nearly impossible. This is why it is better to have people and systems in place in advance.
  • Stefan...I was attempting to explain the situation in the US, and how people here can help. I am unsure about Europe, but I would offer similar advice. Work with local organizations and attempt to integrate as a volunteer. You fly for your own, "recreation," while in thr field with an organization perhaps. That way, they could say you were doing your own thing, if people question. But, you would have the blessing of a recognized and organized group to be in the field in the first place.
  • Pardon grammar and spelling errors. I am replying from a cellphone, which is not the easiest to type on.
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