Thursday, October 21, 2021

Good news for Ag drones in America

An Easter egg hidden within the new Part 107. Most folks flagged no BVLOS, but the FAA are going to let you operate from a moving vehicle. Just as long as people are not around. A great no BVLOS cheat.

I wonder if this will tip sales in favour of fixed wing aircraft with a bit of endurance now.

As it can weigh less than 55lbs you could have a pretty big petrol powered system and plod up and down remote rural roads. Four, five even six hour flights are quite possible with large fixed wing platforms. They have the advantage of flying a little better at size with more wiggle room for payloads. Get an entire farm mapped at low level. No need to fudge the coverage by cheating and flying high. Also don’t scrimp on the sensor size. Larger sensor better data.

One caveat is that the Remote Pilot in Command cannot also be driving that vehicle. So it has to be at minimum a two man operation.

The 12 foot Telemaster comes straight to mind as a suitable airframe.

Yes its big and needs some flat ground but put some tundra tyres on it and make the bloke driving the van help.

This would be a great niche for small manufacturers to fill. These platforms will require more fettling than $2 of foam. There is an old bloke at your local RC club that would love to do it all day.

I’m still not convinced Ag will be a huge market. Getting thousands of hectares flown a day would help drive down the acquisition cost.

You are going to come home with many many more images though and that is going to cause post production headaches.

I see data clouds gathering.

Processing all happening miles away as our two men in a van fly again.


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.