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Maine Search and Rescue Group's Drone Use Approved by FAA

Author: Dawn Gagnon, Bangor Daily News

Date: 2015-04-22
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The organization has become the first civilian entity of its type to receive permission to use unmanned aircraft systems.


A Maine-based search and rescue organization has become the first civilian entity of its type to receive permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to use unmanned aircraft systems, or drones.

The authorization granted to Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI) on April 6 allows it to operate two drones it purchased from a southern Maine manufacturer — one of them a fixed-wing model and the other a larger multi-rotor version — to fly at altitudes of 200 feet or lower so long as it abides by certain guidelines, according to documents provided by the FAA.

“The great thing is it will save lives,” DEEMI Director Richard Bowie said.

Established in 1991, DEEMI typically deploys its vehicles, aircraft and volunteers for about 25 search and rescue operations per year, Bowie said. The nonprofit organization has about 120 volunteers, he said.

The idea is to enable the organization to deploy its drones to places its helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft could not otherwise easily reach. Because drones are not manned, they can fly missions without putting human life at risk in hazardous weather conditions, Bowie said.

From Bangor Daily News, via Emergency Management – read full story here



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