The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2017, April 22-23

Air Bears

Who We Are & What We Do:

We are a non-profit volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) organization that links government authorities with local pre-registered "drone" pilots to aid in SAR efforts. We are based in the Minneapolis/St Paul area and have approximately 500 registered pilots across the US, plus a few located in Europe and Australia.

What We Want to Do:

Our goal is to make Air Bears the go-to for enhanced SAR missions. As we describe in the application, the one major barrier to success has been the ability for authorities to verify volunteer credibility and easily deploy teams. A new pilot/authority portal will enable our team to save lives or provide closure to families and loved ones.

What new functionality we are looking for

We are looking to increase the capabilities of our "pilot" and "authority" portal. Admittedly we do have a fairly "pretty" website (should I quick break it?!), but we have a huge hurdle to jump. We're stuck and only you can help!


With the updates, pilots will have additional portal capabilities such as uploading their certificates (PDF), uploading a profile picture, uploading pictures of their drones, adding certifications & training, & equipment capabilities.

Pilots can be designated to have access to authorities' training and receive "certification" on their profile for completing the training.

Pilots can also be designated to have access to additional information such as outreach presentation material.

Pilots will be able to purchase Air Bear ID cards from the pilot store.


Authorities will be able to post region specific training, pre-build teams, and request ad hoc teams based on needed equipment capabilities.

When a request for assistance is made, the website will notify potential pilot participants via their noted preferences (text, pre-recorded message, email). Non-urgent requests will also be available - for instance our members provide desensitization training for mounted police.


Administrators will be able to review, remove, and manage all information, and be able to message members based on specified parameters (i.e. geography or designation).

How the new functionality will help

The drone world is hot, new, and to many authorities, scary. There are dozens of studies that show the efficacy of drone SAR, filling the gap between foot and manned aircraft. Many organizations recognize the value of drones in SAR but don't have the resources, training, or knowledge to add drones assets to their SAR arsenal. New FAA regulations have tended to complicate and confuse local governments and as a result they're turning to trusted agents, like Air Bears. Authorities need to be assured that the pilots they work with are certified, seasoned, and safe. They also need to be able to efficiently ready-launch pilots at a moments notice.

How our organization will use the technology

The pilot portal will be the heartbeat of our organization, tracking our volunteers, requests, and outreach. Right now the management of our website, pilots, and authorities takes up the majority of our time, leaving precious little time to expand our outreach and education. Enhancing and automating much of this process will allow us to grow efficiently and focus more of our resources on our mission.

Who will use the technology

The updates to our portal will impact everyone of our members, giving them the tools they need to be supportive and successful in saving lives when minutes count.

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_tc2017-airbears-before Thumbnail_tc2017-airbears-after

84 Messages from Supporters

2017-02-26 19:58:22 UTC
Thomas Hyland Jr

We need this! The volunteer search and rescue idea is amazing and needs support. Please help people find airbears!

2017-02-26 20:56:13 UTC
Bruce Christianson

"Air Bears Care". Without the drone pilots that volunteer their time for Air Bears, there wouldn't be advanced lifesaving Search and Rescue efforts.

2017-02-26 20:57:51 UTC
Geoff Simpson

Air Bears is doing great things with drones!

2017-02-26 21:46:36 UTC

Air Bears has such potential!

2017-02-26 16:39:42 UTC
Cory Shubert

We need the Air Bears and organizations like them to help educate the world on the safe and positive use of drones in our society.

I am a member and fully support their vision and goals.

2017-02-26 16:40:10 UTC

Airbears provides a needed service to the public. Airbears is just like the vol. fire company helping out the community. With the evolution of technology why not utilize it for betterment of everyone.

2017-02-26 16:40:40 UTC

Air Bears is a great organization

2017-02-26 16:44:47 UTC

Air Bears is a great volunteer organization

2017-02-26 16:46:25 UTC
Larry Truesdale

AirBears is a one-of-a-kind service organization with a very forward thinking mission. They would be very worthy winners for this competion.

2017-02-26 16:51:32 UTC
Scott Zimmerman

Please help the Air Bears. They deserve it!

2017-02-26 17:03:42 UTC
Jess Estridge

Love Air Bears, please lend them a hand!

2017-02-27 15:51:34 UTC
Alan Bennett

Having the opportunity to do something you love while helping to save a life is the most amazing feeling. Airbears provides a clean platform and gives this opportunity to thousands of hobbyists across the nation. It's a great program for a great cause!

2017-02-27 17:29:03 UTC

I thing they are putting the technology into the RIGHT use!
Drones are not for killing but for healing!

2017-02-27 18:47:06 UTC

Air Bears is so great! Help them help us!

2017-02-27 22:39:59 UTC
John Windels

Good cause for safety. I have been a member for a long time.

2017-02-28 14:13:32 UTC

I'm excited to see what AirBears does in 2017!

2017-03-01 12:52:32 UTC

They are doing wonderful things to help people and educate them also on how their services are much needed!!

2017-03-04 18:43:46 UTC
Carol Cowick

Air Bears is awesome!

2017-03-07 18:19:03 UTC
Steve Fines

Air Bears is clearly forward thinking and has some impressive ideas.

2017-03-13 13:56:24 UTC
Jon McBride RMUS

I had the opportunity to meet and hear about the AirBears operations.
Professional group that has the ability to assist in Emergency operations with educated remote pilots.
Incredible work being done. Keep up the good work!!

2017-03-13 14:22:21 UTC

Air Bears can save lives and help families get the needed support and closure they need in some very tough situations. We need more AirBears in this world :)

2017-03-13 15:42:46 UTC
Imaging InFlight

AirBear has the right business direction and vision to be able to bring sUAS and government agencies together with tight synergy for humanitarian efforts. We applaud this effort.

2017-02-26 16:59:29 UTC
James W Stewart

The Air Bears are a great organization. Anytime Anyplace........

2017-02-26 16:56:28 UTC
Mike Finley FliteTest Community Podcast Host

These guys do great work. It is so much more than a search and rescue organization. They are helping in every aspect of UAS operations. Training, demonstrations for Police and Fire, and everything in between. Very professional, and all around great organization!

2017-02-26 17:00:14 UTC
Tanner McDaniel

Winning a website overhaul would tremendously help Airbears take another step forward. Airbears deserves it and the world needs it. Such a great orginazation!

2017-02-26 17:00:42 UTC
George Stowers

Air Bears provides a tremendous public service by facilitating volunteer drone support of SAR efforts. Grass Roots Effort at its finest!

2017-02-26 17:03:11 UTC
Katie G

Air Bears is an organization devoted to serving our communities across the US. Help us keep them strong!

2017-02-26 17:07:19 UTC
Danik I

This volunteer service can save a life or find a loved one. What a fulfilling way to serve others.

2017-02-26 17:15:06 UTC

Air Bears saves lives. It's an amazing tool to be used for missing children & children with Autism who may wander, finding them and getting them home safe.

2017-02-26 17:25:41 UTC
Dave Carpenier

The world is better place because of organizations like Air Bears.

2017-02-26 17:25:48 UTC
Beth brennan

Organized, caring and a great cause! Air bears is all that!

2017-02-26 17:35:08 UTC

Air Bears has a unique ability to be able to pair UAS pilots with emergency services, quickly & efficiently, when time is a critical factor to a successful outcome.

2017-02-26 17:51:16 UTC
tony yee

I've heard that pigs can fly with some remote chances.
Now, bears can also fly?
That is right and you got to see it with your own eyes because I'm one of the AirBears and I can fly!!!
Check us out!

2017-02-26 18:34:58 UTC
Eliot Gillum

Air Bears is a great group trying to make the world better by pushing the boundaries of technology and connecting good people to take action!

2017-02-26 18:37:00 UTC

Looks like an amazing orgnization! Keep up with good work!

2017-02-26 19:33:42 UTC

Drones are a big part of the future, seems like an organization with a lot of potential

2017-02-27 10:56:23 UTC
David York

Air Bears has a great potential to help people and even save lives. Citizens are ready and willing to help. It could be the best thing to ever happen in local search and rescue.

2017-02-27 12:40:09 UTC
Allen Schmidt

Air Bears is a great an deserving organization who needs to grow to serve. If just one life is saved through the presence and actions of the Air Bear team, then we can mark this as a great success!

2017-02-27 13:58:11 UTC
Jean Fredlund

I appreciate the volunteer training that Air Bears has provided for those of us that serve in the mounted patrol.

2017-02-27 14:06:56 UTC

Air Bears is awesome:)

2017-02-27 15:49:47 UTC

AirBears is committed to the good reputation of model flying!
I love their work!

2017-02-26 20:16:35 UTC

Air Bears is a wonderful community that is blossoming on the brink of hobbyism, the good cause, and is on the forefront of the technological revolution of drones. It's growing quickly, has demonstrated itself well in the past, and shows boundless potential for the future.

2017-02-26 20:17:02 UTC
C. Gordon

Organizations like Airbears are a great tool in search and rescue efforts. With training and equipment this organization can be called upon in a number of situations when man power is simply not enough.

2017-02-26 18:19:29 UTC

Definitely a worthy cause. These guys could save someone's life!

2017-02-26 18:38:52 UTC

Air Bears is a truly needed organization and provide a real service to our community.

2017-02-26 18:57:39 UTC
R. Soko

What a great organization doing so much good!

2017-02-26 19:05:41 UTC
Greg B.

I joined the Airbears as a way to contribute my RC and photo/video abilities to aid local agencies in SAR. This is a great way to use the new technology we have available for the betterment of mankind. Like all technological advancements, there are those who use it for good, and those who use it for ill purposes. Airbears obviously promotes the good in drone use.

2017-02-26 19:38:14 UTC
Steve Burg

This is a wonderful organization. Using drones to save lives. Great!

2017-02-26 17:07:29 UTC
Tim Baker

The nature of the organisation is such that we are a group of geographically disparate pilots offering our services. The only way to make us available to the SAR community efficiently is through our website. Building the new website will in itself make it easier for us to help SAR to save lives.

2017-02-26 17:46:24 UTC

I'm a member of Air Bears, and love the ideas this organization is build around. Helping out whenever we can and promoting the positive aspects of our hobby at the same time. It's a win/win for everyone involved. :)

2017-02-26 18:19:27 UTC
Eyes in the Air

Air Bears offers eyes in the sky where and when needed. It's a critical, lifesaving tool for law enforcement during search and rescue efforts, and aids 1st responders.

Kudos to all Air Bears members!!!

Kay Patterson
Pittsburgh, PA

2017-02-26 18:21:03 UTC

Air bear has the most takented and skillful pilots
Who are serving our community, to better out lives.

2017-02-26 18:22:28 UTC
Robert Price

Who do you you call when the going gets too harsh?
AIR BEARS of course.

2017-02-26 18:41:28 UTC

This organization is an amazing way to save lives with new 'drone' technology.

2017-02-26 19:08:46 UTC
Calvin Goring

Air Bears is a great organization providing volunteer assistance to the public, I am a proud member and would love to see them grow in size and recognition.

2017-02-26 19:35:30 UTC
Daniel Otte

Air Bears in a great organization!

2017-02-26 19:43:23 UTC
Joe Cieri

Air Bears is awesome

2017-02-26 19:53:47 UTC
Jason Austin

I sincerely believe this organization is essential to advance the Search and Rescue community. has already assisted authorities in preserving safety and saving lives across the country. Over the last year, I, myself have participated in three training events and one search. has been invited to participate in more events and presentations this year and we stand ready for any call, anywhere. We would appreciate any help we can get to accomplish our missions. I love being an AirBears pilot!

2017-02-26 20:26:29 UTC
Chris R.

Air Bears is awesome! A group of volunteers trying to make the world a better place!

2017-02-26 20:52:47 UTC
Dave H.

Air Bears is a great organization. They are definitely worthy of some help.

2017-02-26 23:02:48 UTC

Air bears is an awesome company with even better staff to help people!!:)

2017-02-26 23:22:53 UTC
Jeff Engel

Airbears is a platform to help, educate, teach safety about the world of UAV's bring the states together. And I personally can't think of anything more rewarding than to help someone. By safely showing someone something that I Love and Enjoy so much!!

2017-02-26 23:36:46 UTC

Air Bears really Helps the world! I support them 110%

2017-02-27 00:24:46 UTC
Eddie Black

Air bears is a great service and very needed

2017-02-27 03:54:15 UTC

AirBears needs to be THE go-to resource for search and rescue pilots. They're awesome!

2017-02-26 17:07:50 UTC
Tim Rodriguez

AirBears is an important organization that is making the new technology of drones, as well as the skilled operators of that technology, available to First Responders, Emergency Management Agencies, and Humanitarian causes. By providing this service, AirBears is allowing the people and organizations who could benefit the most from this technology to make use of it without having to spend several years and thousands of dollars to gain proficiency in the use of that technology. Essentially, this is like bringing doctors to underdeveloped areas of the world; AirBears is making the experts and their tools available to agencies that may not have the money or training to make proper use of this otherwise very useful technology.

2017-02-26 17:15:49 UTC
Jim Brammer

AirBears is a volunteer group of drone pilots helping first responders and search and rescue teams in disaster and emergency situations nationwide. Please help us grow our ability to help others by helping to improve our website..

2017-02-26 17:39:29 UTC

Air bears is awesome!

2017-02-26 17:46:45 UTC

Love what Air Bears is doing, great work!! Keep it up and thank you for all you do!!

2017-02-26 17:52:28 UTC
Joe Birchhill

Airbears is the right organization during this fast paced time in the aviation industry to help connect pilots who care about the world around the and want to use their powers for good. So proud to be a member! Keep up the great work!

2017-02-26 18:06:53 UTC

Air Bears are Awesome. Love been part of it.

2017-02-26 22:52:07 UTC
Heather Walberg - Burnsville FTC Robotics Advisor

Air Bears is AWESOME!!

The came to talk to my 55 FTC robotics students to talk to them about drones, technology, lawful use and how they help law enforcement. The kids absolutely loved it! It was one of our best community days of the year. (Thanks to Scott and the team!!)

2017-02-26 23:12:28 UTC
Dan Wennberg

Air Bears is a charitable public service that is doing tremendous work in educating and helping the future of drones to help all mankind. Go Air Bears!

2017-02-27 01:21:53 UTC
Don Stang

We are Air Bears and we are in the air. Our pilots care.In any emergency we are there to provide safety and confidence to those in need.

2017-02-27 02:11:01 UTC

Air bears is a great organization help local authorities use drone pilots in search and rescue. Air bears links authorities with drone pilots in their area!!!

2017-02-27 03:14:43 UTC

Sounds like a great idea that I could get aboard on. Using drones and drone pilots to help the community is the future of making the public aware of situations that they may not be exposed to in their everyday life.

2017-02-26 20:42:42 UTC
Garret Bryl

Not only does Air Bears support the mission of finding missing loved ones and returning them to their families, but they also support the integration of UAS in to public safety and generally promoting the use of technology to help those in need. A worthwhile cause by any measure.

2017-02-26 21:54:53 UTC

They have an awesome vision and could do great things..not only dor search and rescue but also for educating the communities on safe and prooer drone usage.

2017-02-26 22:25:22 UTC
Tom Trenka

I know the Air Bears organization pretty well; they are awesome and the volunteer services they provide are right up there with volunteer fire fighters (I'm looking at you, Long Island). An entirely worthy cause!

2017-02-26 23:25:46 UTC
Chip Griffin

I really see Air Bears as being a way that first responders can quickly request the services of a local drone pilot to aid in certain operations. Although I have not registered with them yet I do plan on doing so once I am in a position to help. Air Bears are the best!

2017-02-27 00:33:49 UTC
Shawn Fitzpatrick

Drone pilots volunteering to help in times of emergency. What more do you have to say?

2017-02-27 02:12:35 UTC


2017-02-27 03:50:54 UTC

"Air Bears is awesome

2017-02-28 14:36:38 UTC

Air Bears has the ability to supply a specialized service to the Emergency Management Services (EMS) community. With it's unique technology of low level aerial camera survey and reconnaissance capabilities, Air Bears can assistance law enforcement and public protection agencies in search and rescue operations in a way that typical airborne methods cannot. Air Bear's drone pilots can take search and rescue missions to a lower and slower flight window to locate victims and objects of interest that normal airplane and helicopter surveillance flights would typically miss. Air Bears drone pilots and support crews are entirely made up of volunteers and provide their services out of the joy and satisfaction they receive from extending and educating the public on this exciting and extremely useful technology.

Our Mission

Mission: To utilize UAV "drone" technology for the benefit of all life. How: By creating & maintaining a global network of volunteer RC pilots dedicated to aiding local authorities in any capacity.