Search and Rescue Proposed
As the military uses its UAVs, it finds ever more uses for them and sometimes that involves flying them over civilian airspace. The FAA and the Air Force now have a protocol agreement on allowing the use of UAVs when lives could be at stake. "Now, we have a process to receive approval to fly Predators within hours as opposed to weeks," Tom Thibodeau, a civilian consultant to the Air Force's Air Combat Command, told Blackanthem Military News. The military could have put the drones to good use in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help identify and locate survivors. "We couldn't fly because we didn't have the authorization, and there wasn't a sufficient amount of time to accomplish the necessary coordination," However, don't expect to see the skies filled with UAVs if hurricanes strike again this year. All the military's Predator UAVs, except for one training unit, are in Afghanistan and Iraq at the moment.