Q: What is the SWARM Network?
A: SWARM is an online network and worldwide organization of all volunteer search and rescue drone (UAS) pilots.
Q: What does S.W.A.R.M. stand for?
A: Search With Aerial RC Multi-rotor
Q: What does U.A.S. stand for?
A: Unmanned Aerial System
Q: What should I do BEFORE I request help from SWARM?
A: 1) Check with your current SAR Incident Commander (if any).
2) Check local laws about operating drones within the search area. 3) Pinpoint the Last Known Location of the missing person.
4) Take a screenshot picture of google earth or a map of the search area.
5) Complete description, photos and circumstances of missing person. (See our “Request for Help” page for more details).
Q: Are there SWARM drone pilots in my area?
A: We will dispatch pilots to SAR missions that are within a 4 hour drive of our members home. In 2018, SWARM was recognized as the largest Volunteer Search and Rescue organization in the world. With over 7800 members, SWARM has pilots in all 50 states and 42 countries around the world.
Q: Are there any costs or fees for SWARMS assistance?
A: NO! SWARMS #1 mission priority is to provide aid and continued hope to grieving families. No compensation is ever required, though SWARM does allow for and is grateful for any Donations to our ongoing global mission. At your discretion, it is permissible for families to provide lodging or food while SWARM pilots are on scene. (Our pilots are very good at “couch surfing”).
Q: What does SWARM use its donations money for?
A: SWARM will always do its very best to provide assistance to all credible requests for assistance. We occasionally will provide a monetary stipend to a pilot member to offset expenses for travel, lodging etc. SWARM also pays for Internet presence, legal, insurance and promotion.
Q: How do I know if the pilot is qualified and professional?
A: SWARM pilots are required to pass and hold an FAA Part107 certification along with a registered FAA tail number on their aircraft. The primary Family contact person should also speak DIRECTLY with the SWARM pilot that has been dispatched, prior to engaging in a search effort. We encourage family members to let us know how the mission went. Email: SWARMSAR@gmail.com
Q: Will I get to see the video from the drone search mission?
A: All searches are recorded on video. That video will be made immediately available to the primary family contact, law enforcement and SAR Incident Commander (IC). SWARM might also post mission video to a private SWARM Youtube channel where our entire network (and you) can study the footage for potentially missed “objects of interest.”
Q: When and where did SWARM start?
A: SWARM was founded by Artist/Drone Photographer, Jim Bowers of Colfax California in 2013. After a successful but tragic search for Eric Garcia, Bowers decided to put together a “NETWORK” of drone pilot volunteers willing to assist families in their desperate search for missing family members.
Q: Can I join SWARM if I’m not a drone pilot?
A: Yes. Non-pilot members can participate as ground support, drone spotter and assist with SWARMS administrative needs.
Q: Are there dues or membership fees to join SWARM?
A: No, not at this time. SWARM operates strictly on donations (and merchandise sales).