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National Agricultural Aviation Association eNewsletter
Voice of the Aerial Application Industry
March 18, 2021
In Case You Missed It!
Little Rock FSDO FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Presents Webinar on Aerial Applicators Working in Areas with UAS
On March 4, NAAA staff along with Damon Reabe, Wisconsin ag aviation operator and chairman of NAAA’s Government Relations Committee, participated in a Little Rock, Arkansas, FSDO FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) webinar titled “Aerial Applicators Working in Areas with UAS.” The webinar presenters were all from Arkansas, including speakers from the University of Arkansas, WRK of Arkansas and the Little Rock FSDO. The target audience was UAS operators working in the agricultural environment, and the presentations focused on how to work safely together to prevent an accident between manned and unmanned aircraft.

Dr. Terry Spurlock, plant pathologist with the University of Arkansas, started off the webinar with a discussion on how UAS are used in agriculture, primarily to collect remotely sensed data for surveying crop damage and to conduct research. Dr. Spurlock’s laboratory uses UAS for research, and he stressed his main goal is to have a safe interaction with ag aircraft. His lab’s preflight checklist includes notifying all aerial applicators, by phone, within a 15-mile radius of where they will be operating. The University’s lab personnel describe to the aerial applicators they contact the exact location and time frame during which they will be operating the UAS. They also seek to understand when and where aerial applicators might be working in the nearby area. Dr. Spurlock stressed how it is absolutely critical that UAS always give the right of way to manned aircraft.

Next up was another professor from the University of Arkansas, Dr. Richard Ham, who raised concerns about safety in the ag aviation airspace as the use of UAS increases. According to Dr. Ham, UAS operators need to focus on risk management and mitigation and need to be ever vigilant for ag aircraft. Ham provided an update on current UAS rules including Remote Identification (RID), night operations, recurrent training, registration, and other 107 rules. He stated, due to aerial imaging and applications conducted for crops, the agricultural airspace is an area where UAS and manned aircraft incidents are most likely to occur.

Members of the Little Rock FSDO FAASTeam Jamie Black and Heather Metzler provided an overview of the requirements for UAS making applications under 14 CFR Part 137 operations. The workshop finished up with NAAA member Dr. Dennis Gardisser of WRK of Arkansas, and a former professor at the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, speaking about ag aircraft operations in an effort to better educate UAS operators on manned aerial applications and associated rules. He provided information on common altitudes used in ag aviation, where ag aircraft operate from, documents required for ag aircraft, the Part 137 knowledge and skills test, and the five most common factors in agricultural aircraft accidents. Most importantly for the UAS operators attending the webinar, Dr. Gardisser gave advice on how UAS pilots can avoid aerial applicators.
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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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