Potential Collisions with UAS Trouble Aerial Crop Sprayers in North Dakota

296_crop_spraying_5.6.2014 Potential Collisions with UAS Trouble Aerial Crop Sprayers in North DakotaAerial crop sprayers in North Dakota are concerned about the danger that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can pose to their operations.

Although the North Dakota UAS test site recently became operational, the issue lies with private drone operators and not the test site, according to an article by The Bismarck Tribune.

While test site pilots must adhere to strict flight guidelines, private operators may not be familiar with such safety standards. Consequently, aerial crop sprayers fear that they may collide with a drone. In response to that fear, the North Dakota Agricultural Aviation Association is requesting that farmers notify any aerial crop sprayers in the vicinity before they deploy a UAS.

In addition to the risk of collision, liability is a worry for aerial crop sprayers, as farm insurance policies typically exclude any aircraft operation coverage.

Besides wanting notification from farmers prior to UAS operations, crop sprayers would like the aircraft to be painted a conspicuous color and equipped with a strobe light. Another suggestion is to issue licenses for UAS.

North Dakota Agricultural Commissioner Doug Goehring believes that based upon conversations with UAS retailers, between 120 and 180 drones have been sold to private customers in North Dakota and western Minnesota.

The full Bismarck Tribune article is available here.

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