Ag Aviation Association Shares 7 Tips for Drone Operators

While drones are limited to fly no more than 400’ above ground level, ag aviators fly as low as 10’ off the ground.
While drones are limited to fly no more than 400’ above ground level, ag aviators fly as low as 10’ off the ground.

The National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) is appealing to drone operators to be cautious and avoid ag application planes. The two types of aircraft share flying space: while drones are limited to fly no more than 400’ above ground level, ag aviators fly as low as 10’ off the ground.

Each year the ag aviation industry applies crop protection products on 71 million acres of cropland, and there 1,350 aerial application businesses in the U.S.

Since the Part 107 rule from the Federal Aviation Administration went into effect in August 2017, more than 60,000 people have obtained a remote pilot certificate. More than 1 million UAVs are registered with the FAA—of which more than 80,000 individual UAVs have been registered for commercial and government purposes.

NAAA recommends that UAV operators:

  • Equip drones with tracking technology, such as ADS-B, so other aircraft similarly equipped know of their positions.
  • Get certified and well-trained in operating a UAV.
  • Contact local agricultural aviation operations before flying by consulting
  • Equip UAVs with visible strobe lights.
  • Give the right-of-way to a manned aircraft. It's the law.
  • Land your UAV immediately when a low-flying aircraft is nearby.
  • Carry UAV liability insurance.

"It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for agricultural aviators to see UAVs because our members are doing precision agricultural work while flying at speeds of up to 140 mph," NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore says. "That's why it's so important for UAV operators to be aware of agricultural aviation operations in their area and take precautions to protect individuals both in the air and on the ground."

The NAAA cites incidents last year that emphasis the need for awareness. One incident occurred in Iowa last summer, as an ag pilot was passing through about 350’ AGL, a quadcopter UAV flew under his wing before he could take evasive action.

Learn more at, and


Latest News

Farmers Really Want to Plant Corn Not Soybeans, Says FBN Chief Economist 

Kevin McNew says the company's survey of 2,000-plus growers shows they will plant 92.5 million acres of corn and 84.5 million acres of soybeans. Both estimates are counter to what USDA projected in February.

ADM Offers BiOWiSH Fertilizer Enhancement At 7 Locations

The BiOWiSH Fertilizer Enhancement is specifically designed to optimize yield potential by improved nutrient uptake and to improve soil conditions for increased plant vigor.

Unloading grain
Deadline Looms, but still no Movement on U.S.-Mexico Corn Trade Dispute, Grassley says

Iowa Senator encourages U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to move toward instituting USMCA dispute settlement process.

What The Soil Has to Say

By turning biological test results into gigabytes of data, Pattern Ag has developed the largest soil metagenomics database with more than 200 billion DNA reads. 

CoBank: Emerging Risks Depress Profit Margins and Challenge Traditional Business Models

“Over the next five years, ag retailers will need to get a handle on changing customer needs, lower expected industry working capital, and rising property casualty insurance costs,” Ken Zuckerberg writes.

If You Think US Fertilizer Prices are High, Canadian Farmers Are Stuck With Surprising Fertilizer Tax

As Ontario, Canada farmer Julie Maw scouts her wheat fields, it’s the moment of truth for the record number of acres planted across the province this year.