Use Drones to Measure Crop Health

Flying a UAV for anything other than “fun” requires a background check and passing a 60-question test to obtain a remote pilot airman certificate.

By Marilyn Cummins

When the Federal Aviation Administration issued FAA Part 107, the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems rule, this past August, it cleared the air and opened the skies for how farmers and companies in the United States can use UAVs in their operations.

Drone camera scouting a farm

The AGCO Solo UAV

Anyone using a UAV for purposes other than as a model aircraft (for “fun”) has to be at least 16 years old, pass the test to become a certified remote pilot (if not already a pilot) and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration. Might sound complicated, but with some study time and about $150 for the test, UAV operators soon can be ready to map fields, scout crops, check livestock and more from the air.

AGCO is the first major farm equipment manufacturer to offer a branded UAV, the Solo AGCO Edition UAV. The company that makes the Solo, 3D Robotics Inc. (3DR for short), posted a webinar with tips for studying for and taking the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. 3DR also offers a study guide, practice test, test-center locator and other helpful resources. “3DR strongly advocates that more people take the remote pilot certification exam,” says a 3DR spokesperson. “The test is a mix of common sense and aeronautical questions designed to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Online Resources for Drones/UAVs