FAA OKs drone-like copter for farm use
December 20, 2015
• To provide agricultural spray service
• Yamaha expects to begin agricultural spray service operations at the start of the 2016 growing season
Perhaps coming soon to the skies over the Central Valley: unmanned helicopters spraying high-value crops.
Weighing just over 200 pounds with a full payload and a bit bigger than a motorcycle, the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, built by Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. has received Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operations Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
With the certification achieved, Yamaha says it can move forward with plans to provide agricultural spray service operations in the U.S. using its RMAX remotely piloted helicopters subject to approval by state and local authorities in areas where the RMAX will be used.
Yamaha says its RMAX is an alternative to spraying with tractor-pulled ground sprayers or backpack sprayers operated by individuals on foot.
The RMAX was originally introduced in 1997 as the culmination of several earlier unmanned helicopter models designed and engineered by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. since 1980. Globally, there are nearly 2,600 RMAX helicopters currently in use, the company says, and over two million flight-hours have been logged to date, with more than 2.4 million acres being sprayed each year.
Yamaha expects to begin agricultural spray service operations at the start of the 2016 growing season.