With another growing season getting underway at a time when aerial application services are expected to be in high demand, on Monday, NAAA sent a news release to aviation and agricultural media outlets advising unmanned aircraft (UA) operators to be mindful of low-flying manned agricultural aircraft operations. The response was almost immediate.
NAAA’s unmanned aircraft advisory received significant pickup from media outlets such as Farm Journal’s AgWeb, CropLife News, AVweb, Vertical Magazine, AirMed&Rescue magazine, State Aviation Journal, RFD-TV’s Market Day Report, the Southeast AgNet Radio Network, WOWO News/Talk radio, broadcasting from Fort Wayne, Indiana, The Mighty 790 KFGO radio in Fargo, North Dakota, News Dakota, 6Park News in Colorado, and an upcoming episode of “Farm Life Live” on Farm Life Media’s social media network. News of NAAA’s unmanned aircraft advisory even spread to the Australian website Farm Table.
The press release recommends that unmanned aircraft operators:
- Give the right of way to a manned aircraft. It’s the law.
- Equip drones with tracking technology, such as ADS-B In, so you will know ADS-B Out-equipped manned aircraft positions.
- Get certified and well-trained in operating an unmanned aircraft.
- Contact local agricultural aviation operations before flying by consulting AgAviation.org/findapplicator.
- Equip UAs with visible strobe lights and high visibility marking.
- Land an unmanned aircraft immediately when a low-flying aircraft is nearby.
- Carry UA liability insurance.
The news release also garnered a return invitation for NAAA CEO Andrew Moore to appear on RFD-TV’s daily news program. He addressed drone and ag aviator safety issues on RFD-TV’s Market Day Report on April 19. During the live phone interview, Moore was asked how common encounters between manned ag aircraft and drones are. He also explained some of NAAA’s key recommendations to unmanned aircraft operators and why the association is expecting a huge year for aerial applicators this season. Watch the full interview below.
Agricultural aviators treat 127 million acres of cropland in the United States each year and perform a variety of services that help farmers increase productivity and protect their crops.
“With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine restricting a huge portion of the world’s food supply, we cannot afford even a small disruption in the nation’s food supply chain,” Moore said in the news release. “Agricultural aviators deliver nutrients, seeds and crop protection products to crops that will become consumers’ food and fiber supply in the U.S. and around the world. Their work cannot be delayed because of an unmanned aircraft not yielding to them, as is required by law. 2021 was a big year for aerial applicators, and we expect demand for aerial application services to be even higher in 2022.”
This is the sixth year NAAA has reached out to the media regarding safe UAV operations heading into the spring growing season.