For the Israel Dog Unit, the sky isn't the limit - it's just another area of operations. Here are some of the ways we tackle our tasks from the air.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, have been an instant success in public safety organizations the world over, and we are no exception. The IDU uses the most advanced of drones to bring an eye in the sky to all manner of operations far faster than official helicopters can reach the scene, scouting terrain for ground teams and using high-sensitivity thermal imaging to locate people directly, even through dark or fog. We are also the proud partners of some of Israel's most prominent drone supply stores and brands, allowing us to field top-of-the-line equipment and keep our UAV fleet fully and thoroughly serviced. Volunteers who are accepted into the IDU's pilot program may be eligible to apply for an official CAA drone operator's license.
In larger searches, the IDU partners with civilian air clubs and aviation firms to drastically extend the search radius for much longer than official aircraft can usually stay on the scene. Private helicopters and turboprop planes who volunteer for our cause are given a sector to cover and a description of how the subject is likely to appear from the air, allowing them both to search on their own and distribute the subject's information to a nation-wide network of recreational pilots and aviation enthusiasts that would be otherwise inaccessible.
Originally intended as an extreme sport, this practice can be combined with experienced aerial operator and high-powered cameras or optics to quickly and thoroughly scout large stretches of open terrain. The IDU is in consultation with Israel's hobby clubs to determine how best to train volunteers to make use of powered paragliders for search-and-rescue operations.