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Senior Advisor

FAA Approves UAS Use For Crop Scouting

According to news reports, the FAA has approved the use of UAS (drones) by Advanced Aviation Solutions for use in crop scouting.  

 

http://www.sltrib.com/home/2027949-155/faa-grants-permits-for-farm-real

 

"Advanced Aviation Solutions plans to use its 1.5-pound, fixed-wing eBee drone to make photographic measurements of farm fields, determine the health of crops and look for pests. The aim is to save farmers time walking through fields. The drone also can carry sensors that pick up information invisible to the naked eye, which can help determine which fields need watering."

 

Even if more widespread approvev of UAS for farming is approved, there are significant barriers to using one on your farm.

 

"The permits require that drone operations include both a ground "pilot" and an observer, that the pilot have at least an FAA private pilot certificate and a current medical certificate, and that the drone remains within line of sight of the operator at all times."

 

The article doesn't say what level of medical certificate is needed.  There are 3rd, 2d and 1st class physicals with the higher number being the least difficult.  A private pilot certificate will take a minimum of 40 hours of flight, pass a written test and a check ride and probably cost somewhere between $6,000 and $10,000.

 

Here is the FAA announcement.

http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=81164

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