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Voice of the Aerial Application Industry
Happy Memorial Day from NAAA
NAAA Pushes Back Against False UAV Application Claims

PrecisionAg, an online publication devoted to reporting on the latest agricultural technologies, recently published a three-part series titled “Three Agricultural Spray Drone Models That Promise to Be Breakthroughs.” NAAA felt compelled to respond to the article series to set some facts straight about the capabilities of manned aerial applicators.


Several quotes in the article cast doubt on the precision and efficacy of manned aerial application methods and questioned the safety of the industry. Individuals interviewed also branded technologies on their UAV products as “unique” when the same technologies have been available on manned aircraft for multiple years. The claim was also made that aerial applicators cannot operate at night because it is too dark. In an op-ed sent to PrecisionAg NAAA debunked these and other myths.


One of the most often repeated claims about UAVs and aerial application is that UAVs create less unintentional drift. NAAA explained why that claim not only cannot be verified, but also may be incorrect writing in part:


“… thanks to extensive research done by the USDA’s Aerial Application Technology Research Unit and the EPA, manned aircraft have sophisticated spray nozzle models showing how products applied aerially are dispersed based on aircraft size, aircraft speed, wake vortices, windspeed, temperature, boom length, droplet size and many other factors. However, these models only apply to traditional manned aircraft that are either single-rotor helicopters or single prop airplanes moving at high speeds. The models are not applicable to multi-rotor drones moving much slower and weighing much less. New spray models applicable to unmanned aircraft with two, three, four or even eight rotors need to be developed before anyone can confidently state the efficaciousness of UAVs.”


Additionally, NAAA explained the downwash effect is greater with manned aircraft because manned aircraft are generally larger than UAVs, causing more air to be displaced moving the applied products deep into crop canopy for excellent coverage.


The article makes clear NAAA views UAVs as a complementary tool to manned aerial application methods, not a wholesale replacement. NAAA welcomes the use of UAVs in agriculture and other industries, but also wants to see them meet the high standard already applied to manned aerial applicators. Additionally, NAAA believes these aircraft must be equipped with certain safety equipment to ensure they do not collide with manned aircraft. Under the right conditions NAAA believes UAVs can be a valuable tool for growers, not just with aerial application but with aerial imaging as well.


The full op-ed here.

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This newsletter is intended for NAAA members only. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part of this newsletter that they first seek the permission of the Association. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership. Items in this newsletter are not the result of paid advertising and are only meant to highlight newsworthy developments. No endorsement by NAAA is intended or implied.
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May 27

International Crop Duster's Day 


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IowaAAA Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In

Storm Lake, IA

Dennis Gardisser


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Carlisle, AR Municipal Airport 

Dennis Gardisser


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Colorado AAA Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In

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Jessica Freeman



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NAAA and NAAREF Board Meetings

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