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In this paper, we report on the development of a synthetic task environment (STE) representing wilderness search and rescue using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for investigating human unmanned aerial search behavior. Participants navigated using a north up topographical map and detected targets using a more detailed track up satellite image representing the view through the UAV’s camera. Participants then completed (1) a path reconstruction task and (2) a memory test in which they indicated locations where they found targets. These tasks aim to address two information types that map onto distinct visual processing pathways afferent to the hippocampus. We discuss example applications using this paradigm, including several methods for scoring memory and navigation performance. Finally, we discuss how the STE enables assessment of the effects of combining or separating pilot and sensor operator roles, search behaviors and strategies, and other human factors limitations faced by operators in aerial search tasks.