Drone operators need to be cautious of ag aircraft
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Agriculture Aviation Association is reminding UAV, or drone users to be aware of agricultural aircraft throughout the growing season.
As the nation enters the upcoming growing season in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Agricultural Aviation Association is asking all Unmanned Aircraft System operators to be extra mindful of low-flying manned agricultural aircraft operations.
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared crop input services to be an essential service during the pandemic.” NAAA CEO Andrew Moore said. “Aerial applicators are inputting nutrients, seeds and crop protection products to crops that will become consumers’ food and fiber supply. We cannot afford even a small disruption in the nation’s food supply chain during this critical time,”
“Agricultural aviators perform applications on 28% of cropland nationwide, and their work cannot be delayed because of an unidentified UAS not yielding to them, as is required by law.”
Agricultural aviators fly as low as 10 feet off the ground, meaning they share airspace with UAVs that are limited to flying no more than 400 feet above ground level. For this reason, NAAA is asking UAV operators to do everything they can to avoid ag aircraft doing important, low-level work. Moore says, “It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for agricultural aviators to see UAVs,” adding “that’s why it’s so important for UAV operators to be aware of agricultural aviation operations.”