After natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados and fires, providing emergency management schemes which mainly rely on communications systems is essential for rescue operations. To establish an emergency communications system during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, we propose the use of a team of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The proposed system is a post-disaster solution and can be used whenever and wherever required. Each UAV in the team has an onboard computer which runs three main subsystems responsible for end-to-end communication, formation control and autonomous navigation. The onboard computer and the low-level controller of the UAV cooperate to accomplish the objective of providing local communications infrastructure. In this study, the subsystems running on each UAV are explained and evaluated by simulation studies and field tests using an autonomous helicopter. While the simulation studies address the efficiency of the end-to-end communication subsystem, the field tests evaluate the accuracy of the navigation subsystem. The results of the field tests and the simulation studies show that the proposed system can be successfully used in case of disasters to establish an emergency communications system.