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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: UAV/UAS/Drone licenses and current / future use in CAP
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Author Topic: UAV/UAS/Drone licenses and current / future use in CAP  (Read 4817 times)
Cicero
Forum Regular

Posts: 106

« on: September 01, 2017, 10:52:54 AM »

What is the current status of Drone training and use in Civil Air Patrol?

What are your opinions about the future?
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 467

« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 12:00:08 PM »



What are your opinions about the future?

If CAP will continue to be relevant in the 21st C we have to accept that the days of human piloted aircraft have a short and waning future.  Lotsa things conspire to move our impressively large fleet of SE Cessna products to the status of historical curiosities.   AI flown aircraft with humans merely playing a token "backup" role look like a rapidly emerging reality.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 01:38:57 PM »

Yes, the future of SAR is 'some type' of drones .... but not the little toy ones like the P4P I have now.  For SAR we will need something like a small version of a Predator drone. Able to fly for many hours, and can cover hundreds of square miles in a flight.

Having just one per Wing might suffice. Replace ten Cessnas with one 5 million dollar drone, and get the same work done. Thats where its headed. All the folks with their toy drones like mine need to chill out. Sure, there may be some limited uses for them in the interim, but long term, a Predator type drone with just one flying Squadron per Wing could handle the missions.  ;)

(Of course I realize a Predator is MUCH more than $5 mill.  I'm talking about the future and a smaller version.)
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Commo
Recruit

Posts: 45
Unit: PCR-WA-002

« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 03:16:38 PM »

For SAR we will need something like a small version of a Predator drone. Able to fly for many hours, and can cover hundreds of square miles in a flight.

Having just one per Wing might suffice. Replace ten Cessnas with one 5 million dollar drone, and get the same work done.

(Of course I realize a Predator is MUCH more than $5 mill.  I'm talking about the future and a smaller version.)

Last I heard, operating Predator drones is expensive.  So expensive, in fact, that to train the operators of the sensor packages, the USAF has a program to train the operators without burning flight time on their expensive drones.  What group assists the USAF with that now?  Civil Air Somethingorother?


Commo
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 09:42:37 PM »

For SAR we will need something like a small version of a Predator drone. Able to fly for many hours, and can cover hundreds of square miles in a flight.

Having just one per Wing might suffice. Replace ten Cessnas with one 5 million dollar drone, and get the same work done.

(Of course I realize a Predator is MUCH more than $5 mill.  I'm talking about the future and a smaller version.)

Last I heard, operating Predator drones is expensive.  So expensive, in fact, that to train the operators of the sensor packages, the USAF has a program to train the operators without burning flight time on their expensive drones.  What group assists the USAF with that now?  Civil Air Somethingorother?


Commo

You obviously did not ready my post slowly and methodically before you replied. LOL

I said smaller and in the future.  Meaning something much more sustantial than the toy drones like the P4P I own now.  And a big key toward it happening budget wise is that it could replace many, if not most of the Cessnas we use now.

I guess at that point we would still need a few cessnas to carry 'brass' around. But yes, SAR could be done with the upcoming large drones of the future.

And if it did come down to having one drone per state, or maybe two or three in Texas, the budget may just get so streamlined that the AF could fold SAR back into their umbrella, and leave CAP's mission to be solely Cadet oriented.

Who knows what the future may bring? Technology just might put us all "out of a job".
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 09:46:47 PM by etodd » Logged
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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 09:51:34 PM »

Yeah, Predator UAV's may be used in the future, but they won't be flown by CAP.
Many Air National Guard units now operate UAV's. And they're starting to use them on "State Missions" too.
Missions like Wildfire mapping and in a couple of cases, missing hiker searches.
Better enjoy those Cessnas we have now, because the missions they were brought for are going away slowly but surely.
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1st Lt Thompson
Seasoned Member

Posts: 352
Unit: GLR-MI-063

« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2017, 07:08:47 PM »

If we did someday move to a long range sUAV, you would still need Cessna's to escort them from the airport to the grid, and someone would have to have visual contact at all times, under current law. So under that situation, a Cessna would escort the drone to the grid, and then fly around and watch it....why not just have the Cessna perform the search? Seems like a lot of wasted fuel to me.

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1st Lt Matt Thompson
Squadron Leadership Officer, Squadron Historian
UDF, GTM3, MSA, MS

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 22 MAY 01 (#11401)
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2017, 07:45:02 PM »

If we did someday move to a long range sUAV, you would still need Cessna's to escort them from the airport to the grid, and someone would have to have visual contact at all times, under current law. So under that situation, a Cessna would escort the drone to the grid, and then fly around and watch it....why not just have the Cessna perform the search? Seems like a lot of wasted fuel to me.

The "Drone Escort Mission" probably won't last that long, advancing technology will probably put an end to it in a few years.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2017, 10:07:16 PM »

If we did someday move to a long range sUAV, you would still need Cessna's to escort them from the airport to the grid, and someone would have to have visual contact at all times, under current law. So under that situation, a Cessna would escort the drone to the grid, and then fly around and watch it....why not just have the Cessna perform the search? Seems like a lot of wasted fuel to me.

The "Drone Escort Mission" probably won't last that long, advancing technology will probably put an end to it in a few years.

A bunch of years ago, they said fibre would largely replace copper in the next few years. I'm still waiting. AT&T installed underground fibre in a couple of neighborhoods in San Diego about 20 years ago, mine being one of them, and the last time I drove by my old house, the cable was still sticking out of the conduit, unconnected. That was about six months ago.

I don't see drones replacing Cessnas any quicker.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2017, 11:20:50 PM »

If we did someday move to a long range sUAV, you would still need Cessna's to escort them from the airport to the grid, and someone would have to have visual contact at all times, under current law. So under that situation, a Cessna would escort the drone to the grid, and then fly around and watch it....why not just have the Cessna perform the search? Seems like a lot of wasted fuel to me.

The "Drone Escort Mission" probably won't last that long, advancing technology will probably put an end to it in a few years.

A bunch of years ago, they said fibre would largely replace copper in the next few years. I'm still waiting. AT&T installed underground fibre in a couple of neighborhoods in San Diego about 20 years ago, mine being one of them, and the last time I drove by my old house, the cable was still sticking out of the conduit, unconnected. That was about six months ago.

I don't see drones replacing Cessnas any quicker.

I've been doing a lot of fiber jobs for AT&T in Riverside and Corona, both aerial and underground.
What did you do to tick off AT&T? >:D
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2017, 11:31:24 PM »

Nothing. The entire neighborhood is like that. I've been an AT&T/Ma Bell customer all my life, so I doubt I would tick them off.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2017, 12:35:35 AM »

Nothing. The entire neighborhood is like that. I've been an AT&T/Ma Bell customer all my life, so I doubt I would tick them off.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

The fiber you're talking about was from the Broadband project. First thing SBC did when they took over was to pull the plug on this project.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2017, 12:45:05 AM »

It's still a "promised" technology advance that turned into vaporware. And where are our flying cars that we were supposed to have by now? This drone thing is maturing, but not as fast as expected, and not without the usual bureaucracy. I won't hold my breath.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2017, 01:22:39 AM »

If we did someday move to a long range sUAV, you would still need Cessna's to escort them from the airport to the grid, and someone would have to have visual contact at all times, under current law. So under that situation, a Cessna would escort the drone to the grid, and then fly around and watch it....why not just have the Cessna perform the search? Seems like a lot of wasted fuel to me.

The "Drone Escort Mission" probably won't last that long, advancing technology will probably put an end to it in a few years.

A type of ADS-B out (or something similar) being installed on the Predators will see the Escort Mission end probably Spring of next year. Yes, The Escort Mission is short lived now. If you haven't been, contact them to sign up for a week. Its fun. I think its full through December, but there are openings starting in January.
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JoeTomasone
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,659

« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2017, 03:14:19 PM »

There are some potential and actual uses for drones in situations like Harvey.   Close-in damage assessment where a fixed-wing cannot loiter long enough or low/slow enough to get detailed enough imagery is one example.  Many platforms can be equipped with FLIR cameras and would be good to spot stranded/lost people.   Lastly, the time to get a drone in the air, gain useful imagery, land and be put away, and be examining the take is less time than it takes for a mission aircrew to be wheels-up, and at far less cost - essentially zero.   

The sheer number of drones can also be a force multiplier.    If someone requires an aerial inspection, you can get it done there and then rather than having to call in manned aircraft.

Now for the traditional CAP AP mission where miles of coastline need to be covered or where multiple targets need a quick assessment for priority and planning, fixed-wing is the way to go because of speed over the ground.    But if a bridge inspector needs to get a look at a strut to see how much damage it has sustained and is unable to get to it due to other damage, debris, or flooding, a drone can certainly do that job, where a fixed wing can't.   Right now, that inspection would have to wait, which delays getting the bridge re-opened versus formulating plans that can be ready to go as soon as conditions permit.

So drones won't be the end-all, be-all of SAR or anything remotely like that - but they do have a place.   They are another tool in the toolbox.



 
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2017, 03:33:11 PM »

I just finished an article in the latest Smithsonian Air & Space magazine that discussed the future of drones in great detail.

Check it out.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2017, 03:54:22 PM »

There are some potential and actual uses for drones in situations like Harvey.   Close-in damage assessment where a fixed-wing cannot loiter long enough or low/slow enough to get detailed enough imagery is one example.  Many platforms can be equipped with FLIR cameras and would be good to spot stranded/lost people.   Lastly, the time to get a drone in the air, gain useful imagery, land and be put away, and be examining the take is less time than it takes for a mission aircrew to be wheels-up, and at far less cost - essentially zero.   

The sheer number of drones can also be a force multiplier.    If someone requires an aerial inspection, you can get it done there and then rather than having to call in manned aircraft.

Now for the traditional CAP AP mission where miles of coastline need to be covered or where multiple targets need a quick assessment for priority and planning, fixed-wing is the way to go because of speed over the ground.    But if a bridge inspector needs to get a look at a strut to see how much damage it has sustained and is unable to get to it due to other damage, debris, or flooding, a drone can certainly do that job, where a fixed wing can't.   Right now, that inspection would have to wait, which delays getting the bridge re-opened versus formulating plans that can be ready to go as soon as conditions permit.

So drones won't be the end-all, be-all of SAR or anything remotely like that - but they do have a place.   They are another tool in the toolbox.

Drones do have a crew. MQ-9's have a pilot and a sensor operator that you still have to pay. By the time you figure in all of the support elements the cost per flight hour is not that different then a "manned" aircraft.
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JoeTomasone
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,659

« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2017, 05:09:16 PM »

Drones do have a crew. MQ-9's have a pilot and a sensor operator that you still have to pay. By the time you figure in all of the support elements the cost per flight hour is not that different then a "manned" aircraft.

Sorry: Clarifying;  SUAS Quadcopters, not fixed wing Predators or Reapers.   Crew is one or two, cost = electricity to recharge batteries.


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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,864

« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2017, 05:55:24 PM »

Drones do have a crew. MQ-9's have a pilot and a sensor operator that you still have to pay. By the time you figure in all of the support elements the cost per flight hour is not that different then a "manned" aircraft.

Sorry: Clarifying;  SUAS Quadcopters, not fixed wing Predators or Reapers.   Crew is one or two, cost = electricity to recharge batteries.

And the endurance on those is what? And does the power for the camera come out of that?
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2017, 10:50:46 PM »

These discussions sure do go round and round. LOL

Yes, there will be some good uses for quadcopters. Not exactly sure how CAP will use them, but we will find something. Maybe.

  • As others have mentioned, when a CAP airplane has located wreckage, its local responders who then take over. The local sheriff with his manned helicopter, the local police with their drone, and sheriff ground teams in Jeeps, etc.
  • Damaged bridge assessment has been mentioned, but these state highway departments already are ramping up with their own drone inspection crews. They will say, thanks but no thanks to CAP.
  • Once the CAP airplane has narrowed down the search, the state trooper, or city helicopter with Flir will be there to look for hot spots of people and/or engines.
  • Etc.

Face it. Looks like our mission for the immediate future is AP of the type we are doing in Texas. Tens of thousands of photos being taken quickly by large aircraft.  When IC sees something critical, they will be sending in local responders for the close up look. Not some CAP guy with a drone. The CAP guy doesn't have a boat to get in range.

Hey ... maybe thats the answer. We need a CAP Navy. A fleet of boats to use in these floods from which to launch drones. I have my boating license and will volunteer to drive the boat. What uniform do I need for the CAP Navy?  ;)




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