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Spraying drones
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Posted 12/28/2018 21:09 (#7203105 - in reply to #7202604)
Subject: RE: Spraying drones

Stop and think about your information source. Ever have a salesman stretch the truth?
Nothing in the FAA exemption HSE publishes says it's legal to spray with that drone. All the exemption allows is for the machine to operate at a weight above 55 lbs. Those are two entirely different items. Call your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (you can find a list of all FSDO's at ask for an Operations Inspector and ask him/her if you can spray with a drone weighing over 55 lbs. Ask what FAA certification you need while you have them on the phone. Now compare that to what the salesman says.
It doesn't matter if FAA says you can use the drone to spray, you still have to apply the pesticide according to the label directions. Next I would suggest you look at the droplet size generated by the drone (it's 80 to 180 microns by the way) now find a pesticide label that allows aerial application at those drop sizes. You're going to have a hard time finding any product that allows you to use 80 to 180 microns. Grab a label for your favorite pesticide and read the aerial application instructions. Read carefully the section on total volume per acre you will have to comply those when you're spraying. You can find some labels that allow 1 gallon per acre total volume, most will say 3 to 5 gpa. What is the tank volume for the drone you're thinking about? HSE says their $26,000 drone has a 20 kg capacity. That's not a liquid capacity that's weight. Why would they specify the weight capacity instead of a meaningful volume? 20 kg is 44 pounds, water weight 8 lbs/gal so they are avoiding the truth of 5.5 gals capacity. At 3 to 5 gpa you'll be able to spray 1 to 1 2/3 acres before reloading. Didn't the salesman say something like 25 acres per hour is reasonable? To achieve 25 a/hr you'll need to reload a minimum of 15 times (25/1.66) or 4 mins per load for spray time, return to base and refill. Is that realistic? Using a simple average that's 1 minute 20 seconds to spray, 1 minute 20 seconds to return to base and 1 minute 20 seconds to reload. Do you have any idea how big the fill port is? Pouring 5 gals in a 1" hole in 1 minute 20 seconds isn't possible.

I've only discussed a few of the pitfalls associated with your idea. I'm not trying to discourage you, I just want to challenge you to think logical about what you're trying to learn. Find a reliable source for information other than the salesman. He may be telling the truth, he may be blowing smoke. Hell he might even be lying. It's your $26 grand.
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