Saturday, July 24, 2021

Safe UAV Operations Around Low-Flying, Manned Aircraft


Its this weeks spot the group running scared campaign.

Let’s Be Fair About Sharing The Air…. Come on chaps really. What about get out the way you massive polluter?

Can you tell the National Agricultural Aviation Associations press release today has got my goat! I think primarily because they call unmanned systems UAV’s and anybody that is serious knows that term went out of fashion several years ago.

Also it sort of tells farmers that they know better and that they are safe hands.

I guess they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. For the association welcoming unmanned aircraft with open arms would be a good thing. Stacks of new members. I suspect there might be a similar if not larger amount of Ag drones out there already. For the current fee paying membership of NAAA this not a good thing.

I personally don’t think UAS are as much of a threat as surveys would suggest. The big numbers you hear have been extrapolated from a different country with a different need and scaled. They make no sense and were a sabre rattle from another dying association. Satellite data will replace what most folks are rushing to do right now.

The EU Copernicus project will map the entire planet every four days and hand out the data for free. Try doing that with a Phantom. Low res to start with but getting ever better. The real money will be in taking that free data and making it actionable. Then Mr Farmer might well use his local RPAS crop sprayer to do the job more efficiently in just the areas required.

Perhaps instead of sharing the air this could really read, Ag pilot transiting my farm get above 500′ and stay out of my way.

I think I am qualified to look at both sides, I am a licensed helicopter pilot and also don’t want to be hit by a Phantom in flight but I think crop dusters are overplaying their hand here.

To ensure that farmers are fully informed before making decisions to operate or contract with a UAV operator, NAAA encourages members to participate in our UAV Safety Education Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness, foster communication and prevent accidents between UAV operators and low-altitude manned aircraft.

The first public outreach tool in the UAV safety campaign is a specially designed “safety stuffer” that gives aerial applicators the means to make a simple yet bold statement. Use it to educate your customers about the safety concerns agricultural pilots have about hard-to-see UAVs, and to share NAAA’s recommendations for safe and responsible UAV operations in rural areas.

Similar to NAAA’s Wind Tower Safety Stuffers, the new UAV Safety Stuffers are designed to fit into a No. 10 envelope. You don’t have to advertise to get the message out. Simply slip an insert in along with the invoices you normally send to your aerial application customers.

The double-sided safety stuffers are printed on glossy, four-color paper and available in packs of 100. Best of all, the UAV Safety Stuffers are free to NAAA Operator Members. Non-members can get them, too, for $25 per 100-pack. NAAA encourages aerial applicators to order as many packets as they can reasonably use. We will continue to give them away to NAAA Operator Members while supplies last. (Additional postage fees may apply for large orders.)

Let’s Be Fair About Sharing The Air

The UAV Safety Stuffers build on the “Let’s Be Fair About Sharing The Air” campaign NAAA launched in 2010 to promote wind tower safety education.

Crop-sensing and aerial imaging stand at the top of many lists of the most popular uses of civilian UAVs. The fervor among farmers champing at the bit to purchase their own UAV to use for crop monitoring and other purposes has been well documented. What gets lost amid all the rosy projections for UAVs’ commercial uses is the safety concerns of pilots, and in particular the concerns of aerial applicators and other pilots operating near ground and the lower reaches of the airspace.

It’s up to everybody—NAAA, its state association partners and aerial applicators—to educate farmers, crop consultants, ag retailers and the public about safe and responsible UAV operations in rural areas. NAAA’s UAV safety stuffers are one component of that. Each ad ends with a simple plea to UAV operators: “Fly with care.” We invite you to get the conversation started in your area by using NAAA’s UAV Safety Stuffers.

Gary Mortimer
Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.