Searching for missing persons

Has anybody ever got involved in a search for a missing person using there drone?

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Hi Darren - I routinely fly and volunteer for a missing dog group and on the odd occasion I have been approached by police in the area and asked to keep an eye out for a missing person in the same area. Never been officially involved in a missing person search though.

What sort of info are you looking for ??


Well I was thinking about setting up a group for drone users who would be willing to help out with searching for missing persons. Which could possibly work alongside the emergency services if needed.


I live in Romsey and new to the hobby, but as a retired Police Officer, I’d be willing to sign up for that.


With people all over the place and different drone with different capabilities I reckon it would work well

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@GADC_Committee would be happy to help and back you on this quest :smiley:


Sounds like something very worthwhile :+1:

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Hi I was thinking in similar for animals/people, i have done a couple of times for dogs, even put mini 4 pro up in 40mpg gusts and slight rain, unitl weather conditions where to bad, i would like to get a thermal drone but cannot afford this, and looking into ways where i can maybe get a discount, i know i would have to pass cofc, i guess if i did this first it may show that i have the skills to fly a heavier drone.

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In general how does missing persons/animals or search and rescue work if your ment to be able to keep a visual line of sight for drone in the sky? Or is there a seperate qualification or certification for proper search and rescue?

I think you can have spotters who are in contact with the operator, not sure if the police asked you to do help in a missing person case, if there is a law which can be used so you could fly with with not being in vlos of drone. Good question.

Just had a quick look i found this “With CAA approval you could fly your drone further than VLOS or higher than the 400ft/120m height limitation. You may never do this in the open category.” link to article UK Drone Laws Explained - A2 Certificate of Competency.

The same drone code rules apply

If you want to help search for dogs then join


I telephones the CAA with this question and i was told to email the question since there was no one available from the drone team to answer, i also added a bit to the question here is a copy of the email i sent to the CAA, also i have not mentioned this site or user who has post this question, or given any details that can identify anything apart from my own email address and name

Hi I am a member of a drone forum and an interesting question came up regarding missing people and the question was asked, and i am wondering if you could help answer this question?

In general how does missing persons/animals or search and rescue work if your ment to be able to keep a visual line of sight for drone in the sky?

So my next question is that if the police asked a drone operator who held the cofc a2 and also had a thermal drone, and the police asked the operator to fly at night is there an exemption between the caa and police that could authroise the drone operator to fly there drone with out VLOS, as long as it was not in a restricted or dangerous area, for example maybe a forrest for a missing person, where there is no flight restrictions?

Thanks for your time reading this email.


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As @Sparkyws said above, it’s no different from any other drone flight.

You’re just looking for dogs instead of sunsets.


They wouldn’t ask a member of the public they would use their own drones and follow the drone code


not all police forces have drones, i think edinburgh is trialing them out near south queensferry, i did not post “In general how does missing persons/animals or search and rescue work if your ment to be able to keep a visual line of sight for drone in the sky” The CAA where interested in the scenario i painted for them, also i do understand that most police forces may have helicopters, but if one was at a major incident or unable to fly, i can forsee scenarios where it may help, yes i understand the chances of these scenarios all falling into place for this to happen would be rare, but very rural communities may not have such things available to the police. I do know that a few months ago my local police force had only one police car fittied with a speed device, also one stage a certain nuclear establishement only had 5 available police cars avaialble due to health and safety with a certain make of car, so all though rare scenarios may happen, Also if anyone at the caa posed with this question may not or have thought of this.

I don’t think police currently fly BVLOS so highly unlikely they are going to ask a member of the public to.

I’m sure they probably have a bit of flexibility when there is an immediate risk to life, but in that case the last thing they want is member of the public getting in the way.

Interesting read.

Police-report (1).pdf (419.8 KB)

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Police also have their own OA, which gives all sorts of privileges, they wont share that with anyone


Interesting read indeed Callum @callum, thanks for posting that.

I found that police scotland has four Phantom 4 drones, one in Inverness and Aberdeen and two in Glasgow. Also an m210. Air Support Unit and Drones - Police Scotland

Also this article regarding lothian police trying out drones at south queensferry Edinburgh police use high-tech drones in major crackdown on drivers - Edinburgh Live

Well I’ve emailed Cumbria police to find out things. Just awaiting to here back