UAS Disaster Response Study Away 2018: Post Disaster/Emergency Assessment & Aid


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Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach

Student Status



Study America

Advisor Name

Dr. Dan Macchiarella

Second Advisor Name

Dr. John Robbins


Students participated in a Study Away program providing disaster response, community outreach and first responder education centered upon the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) during May 2018. Flight operations initially occurred in the Daytona Beach area from 8 May 2018 until 14 May 2018. Students practiced techniques and procedures necessary for real-world operational flights.

The group traveled through Texas and Oklahoma until the end of May 2018. The first event was held in Arlington, Texas, at the L3 Link Simulation & Training center. The next stop was Oklahoma City at the State Emergency Operation Center where the Embry–Riddle UAS Disaster Response Team received an initial briefing and prepared to assist with response and recovery efforts resulting from wildfires, tornados and other severe weather events.

The group worked with the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation to survey the "Rhea" and "34 Complex" fires that occurred in April. This effort helped ranch owners begin to develop recovery plans. Students operated various sUAS gathering still images and video. A multispectral camera enabled analysis using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to ascertain vegetation health. Live video infrared imagery was used to search for large mammals.

Students met and flew with Oklahoma State University (OSU) faculty and students at the OSU Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station, and then traveled to several sites in Oklahoma to provide demonstrations and professional education to public safety organizations.

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date



Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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