The National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) has launched a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) safety campaign to raise awareness and prevent accidents between UAVs and low-altitude, manned aircraft.
The first public-outreach tool in the safety campaign is a UAV ‘safety stuffer,’ an ad insert designed for users to share with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders. Sized to fit into a No. 10 envelope, the double-sided insert illustrates the safety concerns ag pilots have about hard-to-see UAVs and provides recommendations for safe and responsible UAV operations in rural areas.
NAAA has also produced a short video entitled ‘Safe UAV Operations Around Low-Flying, Manned Aircraft,’ which is available at here.
‘Sadly, accidents from collisions with wires and unmarked towers have taken the lives of agricultural pilots,” explains Andrew Moore, executive director of NAAA. “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.’
The UAV safety stuffers are free to NAAA members and available to non-members for $25 per 100-pack. More information is available here.
The association also has joined a coalition of aviation and UAV stakeholders in backing the ‘Think Before You Launch’ campaign, a cooperative effort between UAV stakeholders and low-altitude aviation groups.
The coalition began as a state initiative between the Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association, the Colorado General Aviation Alliance, Avian LLC, the Colorado Pilots Association, UAS Colorado and Agribotix. With the addition of NAAA, the North Carolina Agricultural Aviation Association, the Nebraska Aviation Trades Association and other organizations, Think Before You Launch has expanded into a broader, national coalition.
The group has been working with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the Small UAV Coalition on incorporating language into their Know Before You Fly campaign. The group is looking to emphasize the importance of safe UAV operations in remote, rural and agricultural areas where manned aircraft may be operating very close to ground level.