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Long Range UAV Trials at Evans Head

In June, the Long Range UAV Trials took place in Evans Head. Four vendors showcased their cutting-edge UAVs and participated in a series of rigorous tests. Fliight Technologies presented their DeltaQuad Evo, while Elbit Systems of Australia showcased the Skylard I-LEX. Swoop Aero presented their innovative Kite, and FreeSpace Operations with the Calisto 50.

The trials encompassed a wide range of scenarios, including shark spotting, fire spotting, and search and rescue missions both inland and on water. In addition, the UAVs were put through their paces during night operations and endurance tests. We would like to extend our gratitude to the dedicated on-ground crews who played an invaluable role in facilitating these trials.

The UAVs were evaluated based on several key parameters: endurance, visual capability, and mapping. Each vendor’s technology was put to the test, providing valuable insights into their performance and potential applications. These trials represent a significant step forward in advancing long-range UAV capabilities and their practical implementations.

See more here.


Ballina SAREX

Far North Coast UAV Members recently attended a 2-day Search & Rescue exercise in Ballina. The first day consisted of a pre-briefing and search, followed by a hot debrief. Day 2 was held at the Ballina RSL with participants given a complete debrief of the exercise and presentations from all agencies involved. It was a great learning experience for those involved getting to see how a multi-agency search & rescue is coordinated and performed. The two UAV teams conducted 5 flights before the arrival of Lifesaver 45 into the search area just prior to 10:00hrs, which then required the UAVs to ground. This time our UAV’s did not get much flight time given LifeSaver 45 joining the search. However, we acknowledge that this is a realistic and in a real-world environment, so the UAV could fly again once LS45 left the search area.

Both UAV teams did an excellent job of completing the line searches as manually flown flights from the instructions provided at the briefing before the arrival of the Westpac Helicopter.

The Scenario
SLS assets tasked by NSW Police to assist in search for 4 missing persons in water following trawler capsize 8nm offshore Ballina.

How do you get involved in a SAREX?
There are a number of these multi-agency Search and Rescue exercises run over the course of the year, and we’re encouraging UAV members to be involved. Keep a look out for information of any SAREX’s running in your area and nominate yourself to participate.

June 2023 Update - 1
Far North Coast UAV Pilot Members - John McIntosh, Tony Carylon, Chris Bower, Denise Field & Richard Hayden.
June 2023 Update 2
Map of UAV flight tracks in blue.

2023 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership Round – South West Rocks

The AUAVS continue to be involved in surf sports, including the NSW Sharkskin IRB racing series, providing water safety and media services for the event. Round 5 was recently held at South West Rocks SLSC on the Mid North Coast where glorious weather and water conditions greeted competitors and spectators. Check out a showcase video created of the weekend here: 2023 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership Round – South West Rocks // From Up Above – YouTube


NSW Surfmasters Titles at Boomerang Beach

A high performing team consisting of Pilots from Hunter, Lower North Coast and North Coast branches all delivered water safety at Boomerang beach for Surfing NSW Surfmasters titles. Working as a team with the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) multiple sharks were effectively mitigated to ensure the safety of competitors and beachgoers. Interestingly the Department of Primary Industries operated a shark information tent at the contest site, showcasing our UAV’s and spreading awareness of our operations to spectators.

June 2023 Update 4
Cameron Jefferies, Mauricio, and Adam Saunders at the NSW Surfmasters Titles at Boomerang Beach.

Humpback Whales

With record numbers of Humpback whales making the annual northern migration, the AUAVS is increasingly being called upon to assist local councils and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in the unfortunate instances of beached or deceased whales. As sharks are known to scavenge on deceased whales, this is not only important for public safety but also assists with research into shark and other marine life behaviour. The AUAVS recently attended a deceased whale at Lake Cathie (south of Port Macquarie) at the request of the NPWS and was able to provide extra scientific information through the UAV’s thermal and zoom capabilities. This capability was greatly appreciated by the rangers on site and will further assist in our understanding of these majestic animals.