Cashing in with Drones…
According to www.kboi2.com you can see the story here – drones for profit
STAR, Idaho (KBOI) — An Idaho company is one of the first in the nation allowed to fly drones for-profit.
While there are many companies making money on drones, very few are legally allowed.
One company, Advanced Aviation Solutions in Star, has been given the go ahead by the government.
“We can actually conduct flights over your farm from the soil preparation phase to the harvest phase,” said Steve Edgar, who owns Advanced Aviation Solutions. “And during the course of that growth crop cycle we can help find the stress points in the crop.”
The Treasure Valley Company is the only agricultural business in the U.S. allowed by the FAA to fly drones commercially. The owner believes the drone AG industry, combined with cutting-edge technology, will be a multi-billion dollar business over the next fifteen years.
“There is a lot of science behind this too,” Edgar said. “This is not just, put a camera on an airplane and go out and fly around.”
Brandon Moore is a farmer in Toney, Ala. He hired dozens of workers to survey his crops. They’re checking for water, bug, weed and soil problems.
“Using some of the unmanned aircraft would allow us to almost have real time information,” Moore said. “We would be able to cover large acreages in just a fraction of the time. with the fraction of the people that it takes.”
Moore isn’t legally allowed to use drones for his business. The government is only allowing 24 companies to fly them – and nearly all of them are movie studios.
Advanced Aviation Solutions in Star is the only company allowed to fly over AG land. AAS got the gig, in part, because of the owner’s expertise in the cock pit.
“All of our guys are former military pilots, former commercial pilots, air traffic controllers,” Edgar said. “We’ve been in aviation all of our lives.”
Edgar flew the F-117 Stealth Fighter in combat. He also manned drones for the air force sitting at a command center in California while his aircraft was zoning in on targets in Afghanistan and Iraq. After a six to nine month application process with the FAA, he’s now in business.
Snagging one of those exemptions, is nearly impossible.
To qualify for an exemption, a business needs someone who has; one, at least a private pilot’s license; a third class medical certificate and a separate observer to watch where the drone is going at all times.
“To have some hoops to go through is a good thing but on the other hand to go through that is total unnecessary, when any 18 year old can go down to the local hobby shop and purchase one and be up and flying in the next hour or so,” Moore said.
Moore says while his farm could save a lot of money on drones, a pilot’s license would be a costly investment. For the FAA it’s not just whether you can fly a drone, but more about safe operations in national airspace.
“But we are out there to do it the right way. We also know, as manned pilots the last thing I could ever say to somebody is, I am sorry if somebody was hurt or killed because an unmanned vehicle hit a manned vehicle.”