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Bob Larson Drones in Agriculture Pt 3
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: November 20, 2017

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A recent workshop at the WSU Extension office in Prosser was held to train some of the first pilots for Ag drones. Dr. Lav Khot says the rules for licensing drone pilots have gone through recent changes …

LAV KHOT … “If you are following the FAA regulations, until last August, we have this Part 107, as long as you were platform, that is small unmanned aerial system between .55 and 55 pounds, then you need to get what is called remote pilot certification, or license, just like a driver’s license. And, if you have that then you can fly any drone that falls in that category of Part 107 for commercial purposes.”

Dr. Khot says the drones are being tested for many different uses like drying cherry trees after a good rain …

LAV KHOT … “The manned helicopter, you can fly about 30 to 50 feet, in that range, above the canopies whereas the unmanned one, because you are remotely controlling it, you can fly just within a few feet above the canopy.”

Khot says more of the larger drones, previously used by the military and capable of carrying more payload, are being repurposed for Ag …

LAV KHOT … “We have very capable and unmatured drone technology. So, some of these DOD companies are converting those drones that were used in DOD applications to agriculture. So, in coming years, you will see many of those platforms flying and doing a lot more things than just imaging in agriculture.”

Khot says WSU is planning more drone training workshops for the Spring.

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