Good news for Ag drones in America

An Easter egg hidden within the new Part 107. Most folks flagged no-BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight), but the FAA are going to let you operate from a moving vehicle. Just as long as people are not around. A great no-BVLOS cheat.

I wonder if this will tip sales in favour of fixed-wing aircraft with a bit of endurance now.

As it can weigh less than 55lbs, you could have a pretty big petrol powered system and plod up and down remote rural roads. Four, five even six hour flights are quite possible with large fixed wing platforms. They have the advantage of flying a little better at size with more wiggle room for payloads. Get an entire farm mapped at low level. No need to fudge the coverage by cheating and flying high. Also don’t scrimp on the sensor size. Larger sensor better data.

One caveat is that the Remote Pilot in Command cannot also be driving that vehicle. So it has to be, at minimum, a two man operation.

The 12 foot Telemaster comes straight to mind as a suitable airframe.

Yes it’s big and needs some flat ground but put some tundra tyres on it and make the bloke driving the van help.

This would be a great niche for small manufacturers to fill. These platforms will require more fettling than $2 of foam. There is an old bloke at your local RC club that would love to do it all day.

I’m still not convinced Ag will be a huge market for drones. Getting thousands of hectares flown a day would help drive down the acquisition cost.

You are going to come home with many many more images, though, and that is going to cause post production headaches.

I see data clouds gathering.

Processing all happening miles away as our two operators in a van fly again.