by Blake Metzger, Agricultural Systems Management major
ADM Crop Risk Services states that the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the company to use drones in its business. They plan on using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs )to review crop damage claims. Greg Mills, who is the president of ADM Crop Risk Services claims that the use of drones are expected to help speed the claims process.
The FAA approved the use of agricultural drones in agriculture in January and has been reworking its UAV policies. Sometime in April they announced that it would be taking a more “flexible regulatory approach to accommodate this rapidly evolving technology.” From this the FAA has approved 120 “Section 333” exemptions for UAV use which includes 22 for agricultural uses.
With these the FAA also made two other provisions to the Section 333 exemption process earlier this year:
• People who hold a recreational or sport pilot certificate. Previously, Section 333 operators were required to have at least a private pilot certificate. The newly added certificates are easier to obtain, and therefore less costly, than a private pilot certificate.
• No longer require a third class medical. Now operator only needs a valid driver’s license to satisfy the medical requirement. This change is consistent with the agency’s approach for sport pilot certificate holders, who may fly light sport aircraft with a driver’s license and no FAA medical certificate.
The FAA’s reviewing of the Section 333 petitions shows they generally fall into two categories: film/television production and aerial data collection, with most exemptions to be likely handled through the summary grant process.
This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.