Chicago, IL March 8, 2022 — The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), the world leader in robotics for disasters, is partnering with Women and Drones for 3.5 days of drone pilot training.  The purpose is to introduce female pilots to the missions, skills, and regulations applicable to different types of disasters and enable them to work with local agencies. The training will take place during the highly realistic Public Safety Interoperability Institute (Interop 22) exercise with Texas emergency management agencies, Texas National Guard, and other groups at Disaster City® and surrounding facilities.

The training event is scheduled for May 2-6, 2022 in College Station, Texas. It will include hands-on flying as well as the important, but often overlooked, aspects of data management and the expectations of emergency managers. Participants will have 1.5 days of hands-on training, then fly missions under realistic operating conditions at Disaster City and nearby emergency management training facilities at Texas A&M.  The Interop 22 exercise focuses on high fidelity testing of new technology, especially wireless communications. Drones have become the biggest consumer/producer of bandwidth and thus important for FirstNet and other providers to understand their role in emergency response.

The training will be led by Dr. Robin Murphy, a founding member of CRASAR and one of the first women drone pilots.  Dr. Murphy began flying in 2004 and has pioneered the field of disaster robotics, writing the award-winning textbook Disaster Robotics, giving a TED talk with over 1M views, and training over 30 agencies on the use of drones for emergencies.  “I’ve been flying drones for disasters since 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the first women in the field, and it is wonderful to see the growing numbers of female pilots,” Dr. Murphy said. “I and my colleagues look forward to training Women and Drones members on the missions and skills needed for flying for most types of disaster response- hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and even active shooter events- and getting to know the next generation of pilots.”

“We’re excited to partner with CRASAR to offer this realistic training opportunity to our members,” said Sharon Rossmark, CEO of Women and Drones. Sharon added “this workshop is a part of our endemic strategic plan to connect members with expanded in-person educational opportunities. We are working with our business partners to identify additional education sessions to support our members.

Hurricane Katrina was the first time CRASAR fielded drones for search and rescue. Members have since participated in over 15 disasters in three countries including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, Hurricane Harvey, and most recently the Surfside condo collapse in Florida. CRASAR has always had a strong female presence with deployments including at least one female pilot.

Participants in the upcoming May training event are required to bring a drone capable of mapping, be Women and Drones members, and have a current Part 107 as well as a minimum of 10 hours of flight experience.  For more information and to apply visit: Women And Drones Disaster Training.

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About Women and Drones:

Women And Drones is the leading membership organization dedicated to driving excellence in the uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry by advocating for female participation in this dynamic segment of the global economy. We partner with companies committed to an inclusive culture where women can thrive. Our educational programs range from kindergarten to career in efforts to balance the gender equation in the industry now, as well as for the future of flight.


The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) was established in 2001 to foster uncrewed systems being effectively used by formal emergency management agencies through voluntary national and international activities that deploy, promote, train, document, analyze, and disseminate scientific knowledge, making it the oldest institution dedicated to unmanned systems technology for public safety.  CRASAR is a nonprofit corporation organized for exclusively charitable, scientific, and education purposes.