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Huntsville, Alabama leads the way in Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations Training with South’s Premier UAS Training Event.

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA –The City of Huntsville’s GEOHuntsville in cooperation with the UAS Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) just completed the 2019 Southeast Regional UAS RODEO™ held over two days, October 9-10 at the Public Safety Training Academy in Huntsville, Alabama.  How do we spell RODEO? Regional Ongoing training for Drone Emergency Operations. This two-day event was the first of its kind with the objective of training Public Safety UAS operators in a fun and competitive environment. Here are the Stats: Over 100 Attendees, 48 UAS Pilots registered (36 Government/12 civilians), 12 UAS Training Course Lanes with 200+ Flight Operations completed over the 2-day event — Not bad for “Our First RODEO!”

UAS Subject Matter Experts set up 12-course lanes for the competition including some emerging standard test methods developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “These test methods are low cost and easy to fabricate so they provide a reproducible way to train, measure, and compare remote pilot proficiency for licensed professionals across the country. This will improve the safety and effectiveness of emergency responders as they save lives and protect property in our communities,” said Adam Jacoff, the project leader at NIST.

The 12 course lanes are based on scenarios Public Safety UAS pilots would likely encounter in day to day operations and included: Two basic skills course lanes, three maneuverability and payload functionality courses, Wide-area rooftop search, Hazardous Materials Drill, Suspicious Vehicle Inspection, Crime Scene Investigation, Parking Area Search, and Indoor Active Shooter drill. 

The Public Safety Training Academy (formerly J.O. Johnson High School), with 45+ acres of room to roam provided an excellent venue for safe, simultaneous flight operations during the event. “By using the entire Public Safety Campus we were able to test operators skills against real-world scenarios that first responders encounter every day,” said Chief Howard McFarlen, Huntsville Fire and Rescue.

Course Lane judges scored each “mission” based on a predetermined set of criteria specific to each task. Scores were tallied and trophies were awarded for Best All Around-Basic, Third place, Second place and UAS RODEO GRAND CHAMPION!“Huntsville Police were proud to support GEO Huntsville and the UAS Rodeo Event. We appreciate Mayor Battle’s support and thank all the volunteer organizations for helping get this off the ground! The training at the event geared toward the public safety use of UAS, will be a great asset not just to law enforcement,  but to all of public safety. Whether it’s in search and rescue operations or use in tactical operations, UAS will truly save lives,” said Chief Mark McMurray, Huntsville Police Department

“The UAS RODEO has been specifically designed out of a critical need for UAS pilots around our region to come together in full scale flight training events — participating with their own aircraft, gaining experience and flight instruction needed to match the skills with the specific Public Safety mission requirements,” said Chris Johnson, UAS RODEO Director.

The UAS RODEO marks GEOHuntsville’s 10th UAS Event in the past 2 1/2 years involving over 1,000 participants representing Public Safety UAS interests at the Federal, State, and local levels of government. GEOHuntsville’s UAS events are structured to provide timely, critical information regarding UAS uses in public safety.

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