UAVAir Drone training course for Search and Rescue (SAR) teams

UAVAir collaborated with Surrey Search and Rescue to develop a tailored, context-specific training course for Search and Rescue (SAR) teams. It actively addresses the challenges SAR teams face in the field, to make its Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved Unmanned Aircraft Qualification (UAQ) training course more relevant.

More than just a CAA approved course, the well established UAQ curriculum will go above and beyond the requirements of the CAA. With a focus on SAR, it will include application specific training designed to meet the needs of contemporary field personnel. Ultimately, the goal is to train more relevant, multi-skilled drone pilots, capable of applying their skills to SAR applications. For SAR teams, it will represent reduced training costs, with savings that can be channeled back into their life saving charity accounts. As well as a new emphasis on SAR, the UAQ-SAR course will also address a range of bolt-on continuing professional development (CPD) modules. These include search techniques, water rescue and night operations.

SAR organisations who are registered charities should contact the Operations Manager ( at UAVAir from their official SAR organisation email account quoting their name, position and charity number and upon receipt will be issued a charity discount code to reduce the cost of the course. We are pleased to able to support the valuable work that the volunteer SAR organisations undertake.

SAR drone qualifications provided:

  • RPAS Awareness
  • RPAS Spotter/Observer
  • SAR Mission Planners
  • UAQ-SAR Accredited Pilot
UAQ-SAR Modules

1. Basic RPAS Awareness: (3 hours)

This module is designed to introduce RPAS (drone) technology so that every team member has the benefit of a basic understanding and awareness of the potential hazards associated with RPAS. The dangers of working near RPAS are explained, and basic safety measures are introduced to the student.

Target audience
All SAR personnel who may, as part of their role, work near to Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

To enable all SAR personnel to work safely near RPAS.

Mandatory for all future modules.

2. Observer Understanding: (1/2 – 1 day)

This module is designed to build on a minimal understanding of RPAS (drone) and empower SAR team members to enable operations by supporting the Pilot in Command (PIC) to be aware of risks and coordinate communications. It introduces RPAS equipment, including its safe and effective use and progressively develops the student to be confident operating as a RPAS spotter. Understanding simple rules and tasks are all aimed at reducing workload for the PIC by effective observing. The course will cover pilot incapacitation, standard operating procedures and how to draft in and brief untrained personnel to assist.

Target audience
This module is aimed at selected operational personnel who respond to SAR incidents and have RPAS units.

To train students to a level where they can support the PIC throughout an entire operation, enable Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) operations, and safely and effectively use RPAS equipment in a SAR environment.

Recommended Modules prior to participation: 1

3. Introduction to Flying: (1 hour with instructor)

This module is designed to introduce future SAR pilots to the practical element of operating an RPAS, and anyone seeking a better understanding of what the reality of flying a drone looks like. For those pilots with little to no prior experience of operating RPAS, seeing one fly and taking the controls is the best way of assessing their natural hand to eye coordination skills, and working towards becoming a qualified pilot.

Target Audience
Team members who are looking to become the Pilot in Command (PIC) for their SAR team.

Assessment of pilot’s natural flying capability.

Recommended Modules prior to participation: 1

4. Simulator and Flight Development

Coming soon.

5. UAQ-SAR Ground School: (2 days)

This module is the development of the standard UAQ course, which is designed to educate RPAS operators to enable them to conduct RPAS operations inline with CAA requirements. We have tailored it to make it more relevant to scenarios that SAR team members will find in the field.

UAVAir utilise the best principles of manned aviation and combine it with the knowledge and experience of professional drone operators, to deliver the most relevant and comprehensive training to ensure we produce the highest quality RPAS pilots. Any individual who has successfully completed the Ground School is permitted to perform a Flight Planning Assessment for any operation remotely, and relay it to the PIC to refine the workflow and enable SAR teams operating on the front line.

Target Audience
Team members who are looking to become the Pilot in Command (PIC) for their SAR team.
SAR Flight planners from base Headquarters.

To equip the SAR team member with the understanding, skills and confidence to conduct RPAS operations as the Pilot in Command (PIC).

Recommended Modules prior to participation: 1,3,4

6. Flight Assessment: (2 hours)

Pilots will be assessed to ensure operations are conducted in accordance with a set of checklists and procedures, and that they have the skills and awareness to operate the RPAS safely and accurately in accordance with the CAA requirements.

To independently qualify the competency of operators to ensure a minimum standard.

Target Audience
Team members who are looking to become the Pilot in Command for their SAR team

Recommended Modules prior to participation: 1, 3, 4, 5

Want to get your drone licence in 3 days? Book on a drone course with UAVAir today, click the nearest location to you to get started.

Northern Ireland

Want to find out more about our drone courses specifically for the Search and Rescue Industry? Give us a call on +44 (0)208 0450 508 to discuss obtaining your UAQ-SAR drone licence with UAVAir.