The provider of the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter Service, Bristow, is currently carrying out the UK’s first trial of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for lifesaving operations in maritime and land environments, in partnership with Schiebel Group

The British company is operating a Schiebel Camcopter S-100 system from Caernarfon Airport in Wales, to fully evaluate its capabilities in a search and rescue role.

The trial is being led by Bristow and is complementary to the work being carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to develop the regulation under which UAVs can operate in a range of scenarios beyond visual line of sight – where the pilot cannot see the aircraft – and in unsegregated airspace, where other aircraft are operating.

Caernarfon offers ‘a dynamic operational area, including mountainous and maritime environments, making it an ideal location to incorporate the unmanned aircraft technology into a complex airspace environment’.

The S-100 can operate both day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 108nm.

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