Helicopter operator Bristow has partnered with Schiebel to conduct the first trial in the UK of unmanned aircraft for maritime and land search-and-rescue. Bristow is the provider of the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter Service.
The company is operating a Schiebel Camcopter S-100 from Caernarfon Airport in Wales to evaluate its SAR capabilities. Bristow chose to conduct the evaluation from Caernarfon because it offers a dynamic operational area that includes mountainous and maritime environments in a complex airspace environment. The evaluation is being done in parallel with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s efforts to develop beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) regulations for UAVs.
“This trial allows us to carry out demanding evaluation of the aircraft, the broader system capability, and future suitability as an evolutionary step beyond the current helicopter-focused approach to search and rescue missions,” said Bristow Helicopters CEO Alan Corbett.
The S-100 has a range of action of 216 nm. S-100 UAVs are in service worldwide and have flown more than 82,000 hours.