The National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) is begining a UAV safety campaign aimed at the agriculture community. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and prevent accidents between UAV operators and low-altitude manned aircraft. The first step of the campaign was to create a UAV “safety stuffer,” a double-sided insert that illustrates safety concerns of pilots about hard-to-see UAVs. The leaflet, created for aerial applicators to share with farmers, provides recommendations for the use of UAVs. There is also a short video available at AgAviation.org/uavsafety.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International expects agriculture to make up 80 percent of the potential market for commercial UAVs once the Federal Aviation Administration finalizes its rules regulating the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems. That notion has been reinforced by media reports chronicling a fervor among farmers eager to purchase their own UAV to use for crop-sensing and aerial imaging. However, NAAA is concerned that the widespread use of UAVs, without safe and proper integration, will create conditions ripe for low-level aviation accidents.
“When agricultural aviators cannot see objects they will very likely collide with them,” NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore said. “Sadly, accidents from collisions with wires and unmarked towers have taken the lives of agricultural pilots. These kinds of accidents generally occur because of an inability by the ag pilot to see the obstacles or lack of information of their whereabouts. There’s no doubt that UAVs will have a similar jeopardizing safety effect on us if ag pilots are unable to see or locate them.”
In addition to lobbying Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration for UAV regulations that protect agricultural aviators and other low-flying manned aircraft, NAAA has enlisted its members and state association partners to help educate farmers, crop consultants, ag retailers and the public about safe and responsible UAV operations in rural areas. The UAV safety stuffers are one component of that.
You can view the stuffers here.