Blair has been using his UAV to get basic data on his crops in a quicker and more efficient manner than the usual scouting methods of using a four-wheeler or walking through the field. It also provides Blair a proactive opportunity to make any needed changes as he explains.
Blair: “And when we take a look at yield monitoring data it helps verifying what we are seeing in the images a lot of times -- especially with weeds and yield. But yield data is reactive data, I cannot do anything to that crop because it has already gone its course and into the bulk tank. Where a UAV and capturing that information allows me to be proactive and then make those changes and applications that are needed in that field.”
Blair is a continual learner is always exploring new technology and methods to make his business better.
Blair: “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘To be as good as our fathers, we must be better.’ Because if we just stay the same, we will never progress as a person, industry or society, so we always have to look to be better.”
Blair explains globally that UAVs are currently used in agriculture commercially and that the U.S. is way behind due to governmental red tape.
More than five years ago, Blair obtained a bi-cameral, bi-partisan Congressional letter of support for allowing agriculture a place at the table in the discussions of UAV commercial use rule-making however FAA ignored it.
Blair: “When we look at UAVs, the FAA has had more than enough time to come up with rules. They’ve had over 30 years to develop rules. This technology has been out even longer than that. They are not forward thinking in order to say -- hey we will have a commercial UAV industry. The thought is that there will be rules by 2015. They should have been out this year but it got pushed back again.”
Even though Blair’s UAV is four feet long, has a six feet wing span and weighs about 4 pounds the FAA treats that UAV the same as a commercial plane when it comes to regulations. Blair shares more details.
Blair: “For me to fly that under the FAA guidelines, I need a full-blown pilot’s license with instrument rating. I would have to obtain and pass a physical. Because it is not large enough to put a IN number on the tail, I would have to be a full size aircraft following it.”
HSE believes that if Mr Blair isn't using his UAV for sale or hire and only flying it over his on land, he should be exempt from regulation