Sky Watch Northern Ireland offers volunteers a range of roles in the overall search service they provide.
Pilots were traditionally the first line of search, operating full size aircraft over wide areas, streaming live video to the ground crew or directly to the emergency services. The role of pilots to provide aircraft and aerial search experience remains a core requirement of Sky Watch. Qualifying pilots must demonstrate up to date flying qualifications, insurance and experience.
Sky Watch NI also operate a range of unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs and also require pilots to supply and operate these. The technical requirements of UAV pilots remain high, particularly when providing assistance to the police or fire service. Prospective UAV pilots applying to volunteer within Sky Watch must provide their own UAV license and demonstrate competence in a range of flight tests.
While a number of our volunteers have emergency services backgrounds, Sky Watch requires a wide range of skills in the support of aerial search from trained and untrained personnel. Our priority is to provide additional search capability to the emergency services, recording high quality video and images over a wide area or from inaccessible or dangerous areas.
While the pilots operate the equipment to provide that footage; receiving imagery, analysing video and maintaining communications between volunteer search teams, emergency services, pilots and video analysts, requires a high degree of concentration and multiple skills.
Getting a UAV pilot and equipment into a suitable search location can also be a challenge, requiring driving, outdoor and scene management awareness skills.
Join Sky Watch
Membership is £15 per year. Your subscription goes towards the work of Sky Watch nationwide and you will receive a quarterly magazine. You may also vote at the annual general meeting.
To join Sky Watch as an operational crew member, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.
A formal dress uniform is required for all operational duties.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) is also provided where necessary, for volunteers operating in potentially hazardous conditions.
To assist Sky Watch with fundraising by organising events, sponsorship or donating, go to our Donate page.
Operational Membership Application