Minnesota-based Northland Community & Technical College has been given a certificate of waiver or authorization (COA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) over agricultural areas in Roseau County, Minn.
Northland notes that it has been working on the COA for the past two years. The COA grants the college FAA approval to fly a UAS as long as Northland has permission from landowners and the aircraft stays under 500 feet over farm field locations. In addition, direct line-of-sight must been maintained between the operator and UAS, and the imagery collected must be used for educational purposes.
The college intends to employ a hand-launched UAS to collect imagery of farm fields for use in Northland's imagery and geospatial intelligence analysis programs in order to aid precision agriculture activities.
The imagery, Northland adds, will be utilized to develop data for farmers to help enhance farming practices, such as crop health monitoring, pest detection and precision in variable-rate applications.