Q: How high should I fly?
A: This will depend on the size of your crop. Flying higher will allow you to cover more ground in less time while using less battery. However, if you fly your drone too high you will not get as detailed of results as you would flying at a lower altitude. If you are using your drone to look for variability in a mature crop you will not need a detailed result and can thus fly your drone up to 400 ft high (per FAA regulations). On the other hand, if you are looking for new growth in a large field you will want to fly lower and gain a more detailed picture of your crops.
Q: Can I use my drone to determine plant health?
A: Drones can be used to create NDVI maps that show an infrared image of your crop. Healthy plants reflect a lot of green light and absorb red light and unhealthy pants do the opposite. To create a true NDVI map you must own an NIR camera. However, even without a Near Infrared (NIR) camera, you will be able to use a vegetation index to show variables in plant health.
Q: How can I map large areas offline?
A: Make your flight plans ahead of time on your computer, then while still connected to the internet, open your mapping app on your mobile device and sync the plans. Once plans are synced you can fly with no cell or wifi connection.
NOTE: Bring extra batteries when mapping large areas (over 100 acres).
Q: Can I use a drone to apply pesticides to my crops?
A: Yes, drones are useful for detecting and spraying areas affected by insects. Since drones are a precision tool, this method requires less pesticide, man power, and funding than aircraft spray.
Q: Are there any regulations I must follow to use a drone?
A: All drones used for commercial purposes must be operated by an individual who is a certified Remote Pilot in Command
Q: How do I obtain a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate?
Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2: Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13
Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.